Formula 1 is – whilst not without its risks – relatively safe today. For almost all of the sport’s history however, it was a insanely dangerous place to be. Even as late as the 1980s Formula 1 drivers (and others involved in F1 trackside) were dying on a regular basis. This car belongs to one such driver, the hugely popular Gilles Villeneuve, who was tragically killed at Zolder in Belgium after just 5 years in the sport.
Gilles joined Formula 1 after winning the Formula Atlantic championship in both the US and Canada in 1976, debuting with McLaren in ’77 before World Champions Ferrari took him on for the ’78 season. In May of 1982 Gilles collided with the back of Jochen Mass’ car during qualifying, with Mass on a slow lap and Gilles on a fast one. Both drivers saw each other at the last moment, both took evasive action, and both moved to the right…
The Ferrari disintegrated, and Gilles, still strapped into his seat, exited the car and hit the catch fencing, fatally breaking his neck. Formula 1 had lost one of it’s most loved drivers.
Gilles is now remembered at his home track in Canada, renamed in his honour, and both at Zolder in Belgium and San Marino in Italy, each with a corner named after him. Yesterday marks 35 years since Gilles’ death, and race car building legend Luca Rusconi aka RoscoPC has paid tribute by uploading his incredible recreation of Gilles’ 1982 Ferrari 126C2 Formula 1 car to Flickr, 5 years after he first designed it.
Luca’s model is one of the most spectacular Lego recreations of a classic Formula 1 car that you will ever see, and its beauty lies as much within as it does on the surface, with working suspension complete with anti-roll bars, a 6-cylinder engine and full remote control drive and steering.
There’s more to see of Gilles Villeneuve’s Ferrari 126C2 at Luca’s Flickr gallery – click here to make the trip.