Journal: VIDEO: Time Warp To Close Canadian Racing In 1975

VIDEO: Time Warp To Close Canadian Racing In 1975

By Michael Banovsky
July 28, 2016

It’s difficult for me to relate to an open-wheeled racing series that looks so casual…off track, of course. The Player’s Challenge Formula Atlantic series was anything but relaxed on track, especially in 1975 where dozens of competitors lined up over the six-race season—including Bobby Rahal and future Formula 1 race winner Gilles Villeneuve. This is a glimpse at Canadian racing in 1975.

Filed as a made-for-TV documentary, the show meanders through race footage, training montages, and interviews. Thankfully for us, it shows a mid-season win for Villeneuve in appalling conditions, just over a year before he’d be “discovered” after beating James Hunt and other Formula 1 drivers—the drive that launched his international career.

To race in the series, however, meant a nomadic lifestyle for all involved. Like amateur racing today, it took a lot of sacrifice for drivers and their families (and if lucky, sponsors), to even make it from event to event. For some like Gilles Villeneuve, who’d been racing since his teenaged years on snowmobiles, there’s no question: “I don’t mind making all the sacrifices,” he said in the film.

Interestingly, he continued, saying something you don’t hear too often from a racing driver.

“If we think of the women in racing, it’s even tougher than the drivers themselves because they have to experience those same sacrifices, and it’s not them that have the pleasure of driving,” he says, “and outside of that they are always anxious until the end of the race because you never know what can happen.”

What did you enjoy about this look into racing’s past?

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Cole Janeteas
7 years ago

Awesome to see my local track, Mosport, back in the day.

Gary Drew
Gary Drew
7 years ago

A couple of things I liked:
1) reminds you how good these proper (i.e.. Lola/March/etc.) single seater racers with <300hp Cosworth/Hart 2litre engines were, and it explains why the market is strong for these cars. I'm personally browsing at the moment.

2) Loved the great tracks that suited these cars ... simple 'facilities' but plenty of curves and challenging to overtake in some cases.

3) Villeneuve in the rain ... there's the differentiator right there to see

4) A great short film actually, recording the feel of the lifestyle and racing action.

Wes Flack
Wes Flack
7 years ago

Loved it!

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay
7 years ago

Looks and sounds like all the Super 8 home movies stored in my closet I kept expecting to see myself as a youngster in the background climbing around on something or riding my Big Wheel. Good times.

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