Hitting the Apex: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

It’s Canada Race Week! Read on to know everything you need to know about the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Written by Mees Drijgers

June 17, 2023

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, also spelled Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve and previously known as Circuit Île de Notre Dame, is a street circuit in Parc Jean-Drapeau, a part of the city of Montréal. The track is located on the Île de Notre Dame, a man-made island in the Saint Lawrence river, which was originally built for the Expo in 1967, and was designed by Roger Peart. The race track joined the F1 calendar in 1978. Circuit Gilles Villeneuve became the new venue for Canadian F1 racing as it replaced Mosport, which had become unsuitable for the race cars.

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (Photo via @scuderiaferrari on Instagram)

Canadian racing driver Gilles Villeneuve was the winner of the first race hosted at the track. It was because of this accomplishment that the circuit was renamed after him after his passing in 1982. During non-race weekends, the track is open to the public for walking, running, cycling, in-line skating and driving. 

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (Photo via @redbullracing on Instagram)


  • Track distance: 4.361 km / 2.71 miles
  • DRS zones: 3
  • Corners: 14
  • Elevation: 5.3 metres
  • Laps: 70
  • Race lap record: 1:13.078 Valtteri Bottas (2019)
  • Direction: clockwise

According to F1.com, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve configuration for this year is as follows:


Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher are the most successful drivers at the track with 7 wins each. Hamilton also holds the pole position record at the track with a total of 6. Ferrari is the most successful constructor at the circuit with a total of 11 wins.

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a fast and low-downforce circuit. It is described as “quite stop-start”, as it features heavy-braking chicanes and a famous hairpin in the 3rd sector. However, the track’s high-speed nature is often showcased as well, as the track is quick and flowing out of the corners. The most iconic piece of the circuit is the Wall of Champions, which can be found at the end of the lap and thanks its name to the events of the 1999 Canadian Grand Prix.

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (Photo via @scuderiaferrari on Instagram)


  • Selected compounds in 2022: C5 (soft) C4 (medium) C3 (hard)


  • 2022 Max Verstappen

  • 2019 Lewis Hamilton

  • 2018 Sebastian Vettel

  • 2017 Lewis Hamilton

  • 2016 Lewis Hamilton


Mees was introduced to the world of F1 by one of her friends in July 2020 and hasn’t missed a race weekend since. Her favourite drivers are Alex Albon, Lewis Hamilton, Oscar Piastri, and George Russell; outside of F1, she also actively supports Liam Lawson and Callum Ilott. She specialises in writing about F2, but is looking to specialise in FE and IndyCar as well, after starting to watch both series in 2022. After getting her Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Culture, she is currently getting MA degrees in Translation and English Literature & Culture. When she’s not watching motorsport, she’s either watching football matches (preferably Real Madrid), reading a book, or watching streams on Twitch.

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