Joseph Gilles Henri Villeneuve, better known as Gilles Villeneuve (French pronunciation: [??il viln?v]; January 18, 1950 ƒ?? May 8, 1982), was a Canadian racing driver. An enthusiast of cars and fast driving from an early age, he started his professional career in snowmobile racing in his native province of Quebec. He moved into single seaters, winning the US and Canadian Formula Atlantic championships in 1976, before being offered a drive in Formula One with the McLaren team at the 1977 British Grand Prix. He was taken on by reigning world champions Ferrari for the end of the season and from 1978 to his death in 1982 drove for the Italian team. He won six Grand Prix races in a short career at the highest level. In 1979, he finished second by four points in the championship to team-mate Jody Scheckter.