There will be nostalgia in the air for the 52nd presentation of the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières this weekend. The son of the late Formula 1 champion James Hunt, Freddie, will be on the track.
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It was by beating James Hunt in Formula Atlantic on the Trois-Rivières circuit in 1976 that Gilles Villeneuve saw the door to Formula 1 open for him. Freddie Hunt was only six years old when his father died. He does not remember having heard him mention this episode of his career at Trois-Rivières. He will learn it later as he reads.
“I think I learned the connection between my father and Gilles by reading the book on Gilles. This is where my interest was piqued. It was ten years ago,” recalled Freddie Hunt at a press conference at the Gilles-Villeneuve museum in Berthierville.
A symbolic gesture, he allowed himself to sit in the Direct Film 69 car driven by Gilles Villeneuve in 1976. Freddie Hunt had been invited by the production team of a documentary in preparation on the Trois-Rivières circuit, “The Monaco of North America”.
Steps have also been taken to find him a steering wheel with the Nissan Sentra series, so that he can imitate his father by racing in Trois-Rivières as well. It wasn’t hard to get.
“Suddenly, [le producteur] said to me: “Listen, Freddie would come, but he asked me if it was possible to have a steering wheel also at the same time. Suddenly, I said that it was settled,” said Jacques Deshaies, the head of the Nissan Sentra series.
Hunt will not be the only big name in motor racing in Trois-Rivières for this Grand Prix. There will also be Jacques Villeneuve, Formula 1 champion in 1997, his uncle Jacques and the army of Quebec stars from the Nascar Pinty’s series.