The Duval family regrets to announce the death of former racing driver, host, journalist and automotive columnist Jacques Duval, who passed away on February 6 at the age of 89 following a long illness.
Well-known and respected by both the automotive industry and the general public, he was for many years the undisputed authority on automotive matters in Quebec, but he also distinguished himself in many other fields during his long career.
Born in Lévis in 1934, he began his career at the age of 16 as an announcer and host, first on radio at CKVC (Québec) and CKVL (Verdun), then at Télé-Métropole, where he created the Cimetière du disque concept, later taken over by Claude Rajotte at Musique Plus. A car enthusiast, he quickly made a name for himself as a driver, then as a distinguished columnist. As a driver, he won the Quebec championship five times between 1964 and 1971, including the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières in 1967. In 1971, he triumphed at the 24 Hours of Daytona in the GT class, becoming the first Canadian to win an international event and paving the way for the many Quebec drivers who have succeeded on the international scene.
His passion for the automobile led him to propose to Radio-Canada a project for a weekly series on the automobile, which became the TV show Prenez le volant, which he hosted for eight seasons, from 1966 to 1974. At the same time, in 1967, he founded and published Le Guide de l’auto, which quickly became Quebec’s annual bestseller and the bedside book of all Quebec car enthusiasts. In addition to being an automotive columnist for La Presse for around 15 years, he ran Le Guide de l’auto for 37 years, until 2004 (apart from a few years’ hiatus when he worked for Ford), before returning as a contributor between 2013 and 2015. He also hosted TV shows on Radio-Canada, TVA (where, with stand-up comedian Michel Barrette, he revived Prenez le volant in 2000), Canal Vox and Évasion. Over the years, his outspokenness was both feared and admired by car manufacturers.
The recipient of numerous honours, he was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame. In 2011, the Quebec government awarded him the Prix Georges-Emile Lapalme for his remarkable work and the exceptional quality of his contribution to the cultural development of Quebec society. He published his autobiography, De Gilbert Bécaud à Enzo Ferrari, in 2006.
In addition to his colleagues and friends, Jacques Duval is survived by his wife Suzanne Charest, his three children Brigitte, Pierre and François, and his five grandchildren. At Mr. Duval’s request, his family has expressed the wish to hold a discreet funeral, and asks the media to respect this wish.