The race track was opened in 1978 and initially called the Ile Notre-Dame circuit but in 1982, following the death of Canadian Formula One driver Gilles Villeneuve, the circuit was renamed in his honor.
Back in 1999, home favourite Jacques Villeneuve, title contender Michael Schumacher and British hero Damon Hill were all victims of the tricky right /left kink. Despite all three drivers having claimed World Championships over previous years and a heck of a lot of driving experience along the way, all seemed powerless to avoid the obvious attraction between the concrete wall and the carbon fibre that made up their machines.
All three drivers were out the race on the spot and the new name for the “Bienvenue au Quebec” wall was born: the “Wall of Champions”. And just for good measure, Ricardo Zonta, a Formula 3000 champion, also took a chunk out of the concrete that day, further confirming the new title.