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Did Jean Girard Race In F1’s 2005 USGP?


On today in 2006, one in every of motorsport’s best motion pictures hit the massive display screen. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby tells the story of a NASCAR driver combating to avoid wasting a profession threatened by a French Components 1 driver named Jean Girard. I just lately launched this traditional of American cinema to some pals abroad, however my re-watching of it left me with one urgent query: Throughout the confines of the Talladega Nights universe, would Jean Girard have entered the notorious 2005 United States Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway?

Permit me to determine some context, for anybody unfamiliar with what I’m investigating. A mere six automobiles took the beginning of the 2005 U.S. Grand Prix owing to the failure of Michelin’s tires; principally, the street course used slightly little bit of IMS’s oval banking, and the Michelin tires couldn’t deal with the pressure. At that time limit, mid-race tire adjustments had been banned, and there was no method a Michelin-shod group would have been in a position to safely full a full race distance. So, the six automobiles that took the beginning of the race got here from three groups related to Bridgestone, whose tires really managed to resist the calls for of the monitor. These groups had been Ferrari, Jordan, and Minardi.

Jean Girard’s introduction to the movie is iconic for numerous causes, however on my most up-to-date rewatch, I used to be focusing much less on him breaking Ricky Bobby’s arm than I used to be on the clips of Girard’s supposed F1 profession.

The footage is clearly some early 2000s F1 motion between a Minardi and a Renault, however to be completely optimistic I used to be working from probably the most knowledgeable place attainable, I turned to my good pal Sean Kelly, who you could know as @virtualstatman on social media, to extra exactly decipher the clip. He informed me, “The footage in that clip is from the 2004 European GP on the Nurburgring. It seems to be Gianmaria Bruni’s Minardi main Jarno Trulli’s Renault.”

It’s not absolutely clear which automotive Girard is meant to be driving, and Talladega Nights presents no extra context, however neither driver was terribly spectacular in 2004. Trulli scored one win to complete sixth general within the 2004 Components 1 World Drivers Championship. Bruni competed in each single occasion, failed to attain a single level, and was categorized as twenty fifth general — ranked behind 5 drivers who solely contested a partial season.

The matter of Girard’s group is essential — however maybe not as essential because the timeline. Is Talladega Nights set in 2005, implying that the movie could be launched the following 12 months, in 2006? Or is the film set in 2006? I wanted to seek the advice of the archives to seek out out.

Filming for the film passed off in 2005, and the 2005 UAW Ford 500 served as an precise, real-life setting for a major quantity of footage that includes each NASCAR machines and crowds. That occasion was held on October 2, 2005 — or, a number of months after the disastrous June 19, 2005 working of the US Grand Prix. If the movie’s huge finale passed off in 2005, then that reductions Girard from having raced within the 2005 U.S. Grand Prix. Nevertheless, it’s solely probably that Girard’s final substitute was there for the race, and that Girard would have been happy to not be concerned in such a farcical occasion.

I’ll be trustworthy: I used to be slightly bit dismayed at my very own discovery. The one factor that would additional elevate Talladega Nights in my eyes could be the truth that one in every of its characters was concerned in F1’s most embarrassing screw-up.

Sadly, it isn’t to be. Jean Girard would have been competing in NASCAR in 2005 — not Components 1.

I, nonetheless, am not content material with that information alone. Presuming that Girard had a handful of years in F1, he would have been current for a few of these different iconic moments:

  • Ferrari’s disqualification from the 1999 Malaysian Grand Prix because of violating technical laws, adopted by its reinstatement, which deeply influenced the title combat
  • The debut of future World Champions Jenson Button, Kimi Raikkonen, and Fernando Alonso, alongside CART Champion Juan Pablo Montoya’s debut
  • Michael Schumacher’s dominant 2002 season, which led to numerous synthetic leisure options the next 12 months
  • The introduction of the HANS system as a type of obligatory security gear
  • Schumacher’s ultimate World Championship
  • The 2002 Austrian Grand Prix, the place Ferrari was accused of manipulating the end result of the race

If solely Jean Girard had caught it out in Components 1 for one ultimate 12 months.



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