When Stéphane Proulx arrived in Europe in late 1988, he carried the hopes of a nation that had been deprived of a motor racing hero since the death of Gilles Villeneuve. On the surface, Proulx had everything going for him. He was young, gifted and he had the wholesale support of tobacco giant Player’s. The finance was there to take him all the way to Formula One.
Somehow, it never quite happened.
Proulx, Canadian FF2000 champion in 1987, came to Europe to contest the international F3000 series. In his two years with GA Motorsport and Pacific Racing, however, he only once finished in the points. Although he frequently showed that he was able to lap quickly, his performances were too inconsistent and, particularly during his second year, he had a tendency to get himself involved in accidents. By the end of that season, he had lost his major sponsor and his immediate F1 aspirations had faded.
He returned home, where he was able to revive his reputation with some strong showings in the domestic Formula Atlantic series. That inspired him to try his luck in Europe once more, and he signed to contest the 1992 French F3 Championship with Formula Project. The relationship didn’t gel, however, and it wasn’t long before he was bound once more for Canada.
Sadly, he contracted HIV in his homeland, although he remained fit enough to dabble in Formula Atlantic. A heavy testing accident at Phoenix in the early part of 1993, however, caused concussion and, subsequently, led to a virus against which he was ill-equipped to fight. He succumbed on November 21, aged just 27. Stephane Proulx was a confident, capable young man whose full potential was never realised. We offer our condolences to his family and friends at their sad loss. S A