12/12/1965 - 21/11/1993
Record updated 12-Dec-18
Stephane Proulx was a Canadian racing driver. He won the Canadian Formula Ford 2000 Championship in 1987 before moving into F3000. A driver with potential, he died from an HIV-related illness.
Proulx was born in Sainte-Adèle, Quebec. His mother Monique, who was a flamboyant and beautiful ex-model and actress, had raced in the SCCA Trans-Am Championship and Formula Atlantic in the 1970s and was one of the first women to be sponsored by a cigarette company (Virginia Slims).
She was just 19 when Stephane was born and her partner, Stephane’s biological father, left her when he was only a few months old. To make matters worse her own family disowned her and Stephane after a bitter falling out in the early 1970s.
Stephane was undoubtedly over indulged by his mother and if it hadn't been for her sending him to California in 1983 he could have ended up in serious trouble as he had a propensity to get into trouble. He had some Karting experience and in California at the Riverside racing school he worked as a mechanic in exchange for laps in a Formula Ford.
He returned to Sainte-Adele a few years later and joined Richard Spenard's racing school instructing at the Shannonville Motorsports Park, near Belleville. He did well and the following year in 1987, he won the Canadian FF2000 championship driving a Reynard 87SF for the Spenard-David Racing School. In 9 races he won 6, took 3 pole positions and finished on the podium in every race.
This led to outings in the 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo Cup and ultimately a sponsorship deal with Player's to race in International F3000 in 1989.
His wild side raised it head again at that time after being clocked at 240 Kph (without a helmet) on a motorcycle which saw him spend two weeks in jail. After his release he travelled to St Albans in the UK and joined Mike Collier’s GA Motorsport team for the F3000 season.
Having never driven anything faster than a Formula Ford 2000 and perhaps with a less than enthusiastic training regime, his fitness seemed to let him down after a few laps, as his engineer Luffy (David Luff) pointed out, he "needed a bit of extra training to build his stamina up".
That first season in F3000 showed some promise and though he finished the season 17th in the Championship with 2 points, a 5th place at the end of the year on the Bugatti circuit at Le Mans, coupled with Player's sponsorship, led to interest from DAMS, Jordan and First. However he chose to sign for Pacific and the Lola T90/50 for 1990.
Pre-season had gone quite well and after a poor showing at Donnington he qualified a promising 4th at Silverstone. That however was as good as it was going to get and an accident at Club on lap 2 was a precursor to accidents at Pau, Jerez, Monza, Enna-Pergusa, Birmingham and Le Mans. A best result of 7th at Nogaro brought his European F3000 to a close.
He returned to Canada having lost his sponsor and raced a Swift in the IMSA Molson Canadian Formula Atlantic series in 1991. He won the title but it was a poorly supported series.
For 1992 he returned to Europe, driving a Formula Project Racing Dallara 392 Alfa Romeo in five rounds of the French Formula 3 Championship. Back in Canada at the end of the year his mentor, Richard Spenard, noticed a change remarking that he was shocked at what he saw and how Stephane looked. All was made clear when Monique called him to tell him that her son had contracted AIDS.
On April 3, 1993, while participating in a Formula Atlantic race at Phoenix International Raceway, Proulx was hit on head by a wheel lost by another competitor. He sustained head injuries from which he never recovered. He passed away from a cerebral oedema on November 21, 1993, his HIV infection no doubt contributed to shortening his final months in the Ste-Adele hospital.