Bertrand Godin | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Bertrand Godin

Bertrand Godin, competitive driver, automotive columnist, host (born at Saint-Hélène-de-Bagot, Que 17 Nov 1967).

Bertrand Godin

Bertrand Godin, competitive driver, automotive columnist, host (born at Saint-Hélène-de-Bagot, Que 17 Nov 1967). On 8 October 1978, young Bertrand Godin was glued to the television, and filled with emotion he watched racing car driver Gilles Villeneuve win the Formula One race on the Île Notre-Dame circuit. Like his idol, Godin wanted to drive racing cars.

Godin became initiated into automobile racing in 1985. His precise and aggressive style enabled him to win his share of victories in "Class 4" go-kart racing. In 1989, he rose to the Formula 125 level in which the high-powered cars whizz by at more than 160 km/h.

His years of experience in karting led him to France where the schools held driving competitions. After winning second place at the Volant Elf, Godin was victorious in the 1991 Volant Maxauto finals. This first-place finish earned him a shot at the wheel on the Formula Ford Mygale team. He finished his first European season with an eighth-class ranking. In 1993 and 1994, his successes and victories ensured his title as vice-champion of France.

On Godin's return to Québec in 1995, the Players team asked him to replace a driver who had been injured in the Indy light qualifying round, and his natural ability enabled him to master the 500 horse-powered vehicle. After four races in 1995 and another four in 1996, the team finally offered him a complete season in 1997.

Bertrand Godin therefore had his first and only complete season in North America in 1997 in the Formula Atlantic race. In Montréal, at a disputed event at the Canadian Grand Prix he got first place on the starting grid. Then, after a hotly contested race, he had his first Canadian victory.

This initial success allowed him to attract the attention of lovers of the sport who discovered in him a pleasant character with a knack for racing. A second victory brought him up to second-place ranking. Several weeks later, at the Grand-Prix in Trois-Rivières, mechanical troubles ruined his chances of working his way up to top ranking. Finally, a puncture during the last event of the season won him a fourth place, just a few points behind the champion.

Toward the end of 1997, Players advised Bertrand Godin that his contract would not be renewed for the following season, so the driver went on the hunt for a spot behind the wheel. He again turned toward Europe and got a Formula 3000 trial with the Coloni team, but despite his convincing attempts, he returned to Québec empty-handed. In early 1998, the athlete from Les Maskoutains desperately sought funding for his chance at the Formula 3000.

He eventually succeeded in getting the money required for a spot in the Durango motor racing stables and thus competed on the most prestigious world circuits in Monaco, Spa-Francorchamps and Silverstone. This lacklustre season was disappointing as far as results went; a larger budget would have given him the benefit of a higher performance vehicle.

After this last complete season in Europe, Godin no longer pursued a professional driving career. However, the experience he acquired during his years of racing served him well as he became an automotive commentator, host and columnist.

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