As road racing became big in Quebec, Jacques Duval was its biggest star prior to the Villeneuve era. He began at the St. Eugene, Ontario airport circuit in an Alfa Romeo Sprint Veloce. By the time the Mont-Tremblant road racing circuit opened in the fall of 1964, he was winning in one Porsche after another.
For four consecutive years, 1963-1966, Duval won the Sterling Moss Trophy as the outstanding sports car driver of Quebec while racing against the likes of Roger Peart (long-time head of Canadian racing through CASC and ASN), Jacques Bienvenue, Tom Graham and John Sambrook. Victory in the inaugural Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres in 1967 in his Porsche 906 ahead of Rudy Bartling in another 906 and Serge Adam in a Sunbeam Tiger confirmed his prominence.
Canada’s Centennial year was among his best. At the first Grand Prix of Canada at Mosport, he dominated his class ahead of Craig Hill’s Triumph GT6 for 9th overall in the support race won by John Cordts’s McLaren. That year he collected wins both at Mosport and Mont-Tremblant. Notably, he was second to noted American Chuck Dietrich in an Elva BMW in a six-hour race at Trembland and traveled to Riverside, CA, hoping to add to his points in the Doug Revson Trophy series. On the unfamiliar California track, he finished behind Joe Buzzetta, Scooter Patrick and Monte Shelton, all of them ranking American racers. But it was with Hall-of-Famer Horst Kroll as co-driver that Duval’s international stature blossomed.
In 1966, Kroll and Duval finished second in class in the 12 Hours of Sebring in Duval’s Porsche 904 GTS behind class winners George Follmer and Peter Gregg in another 904 GTS, and 16th overall.
Returning in 1968, Duval/kroll drove a 911S to 9th overall, third in class behind Alan Johnson and Gregg Loomis.
In 1971 he was the first Canadian to win his class in the 24 Hours of Daytona, taking 7th overall. With co-drivers George Nicholas, a Canadian, and American Bob Bailey, the Sunoco 914-6 finished eight laps head of the second GT2 car, another 914-6 driven by among others Erwin Kremer. Pedro Rodriguez and Jackie Oliver won overall in a Porsche 917K, as Ferrari 512s and a pair of racing Corvettes completed the top six finishers ahead of Duval in the overall results.
Among other successes, Duval drove a 911 to 7th in a Trans-Am event at Tremblant in 1968 behind such ponycar stars as Mark Donohue and George Follmer, Sam Posey and Craig Fisher. That year Duval also won a six-hour Tremblant race partnered with Quebecer Jean-Guy Ostiguy. He also co-drove a 906 in the BOAC 500 at Brands Hatch, England. Originally his teammate was to be world champion Jimmy Clark, but the Scotsman opted to race in a Formula Two event at Hockenheim, where he died in a solo crash. Duval and co-driver Mario Cabral, a -1 part-timer, finished 19th in the outdated 906, while Jacky Ickx and Brian Redman won in a Ford GT40.
Duval remained prominent as a track announcer in the early years of Montreal’s Canadian Grand Prix.
He continued racing occasionally, winning at St. Eustache as Jacques Bienvenue’s teammate in 1978 in the latter’s Carrera, and in recent years runs for fun with his son, Francois, as co-driver in Quebec vintage events.
Image via La Presse