Motorsports: Jacques Villeneuve returning to Indy 500

Jacques Villeneuve

The final Formula One Globe Champion to hail from this continent, Jacques Villeneuve has raced every thing from stock vehicles to Le Mans prototypes and a lot more. But it all started out at Indy.

Following climbing up the ranks of open-wheel feeder series close to the planet, Jacques moved up to Indy in 1994, winning his very first race that season then winning the championship as effectively as the Indianapolis 500 the following yr. He didn’;t stick around the Indy circuit prolonged following that, following his father’;s footsteps into F1 the following season, winning 4 grands prix and the title the yr right after that. But now, soon after striving his hand at just about everything else, JV is returning to Indy.

In a deal just announced, Villeneuve is set to compete in the Indianapolis 500 this year with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. The staff run by quadriplegic former race winner Sam Schmidt, former Indy driver Davey Hamilton and former Atlantic series champion chief Ric Peterson won 2 rounds final 12 months (the street races at Belle Isle and Baltimore) with Simon Pagenaud behind the wheel.

This will mark the first time he’;ll compete in open wheels because leaving Sauber in 2006 (discounting the exhibition occasion pictured over where he drove his dad’;s Ferrari) and the first time he’;ll drive an IndyCar considering that winning the title 19 years in the past. The last time he drove at Indy was in the Brickyard 400 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in 2010, finishing in 29th location. Getting also driven in the United States Grand Prix 5 instances, Villeneuve stands alongside JP Montoya as one particular of just 2 drivers to compete in all 3 main racing series at IMS.

JV is rumored to be bringing big sponsorship cash with him to Schmidt, and some star power to the grid which race organizers are desperately trying to fill. He’;ll have to juggle his drive in the new FIA Globe Rallycross Championship, even so, to make it come about. Study the complete press release beneath and visit the team’;s web site for all the specifics.

Villeneuve To Return To Indianapolis 500 In Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Entry
Canadian Champion To Make Very first Indy Auto Start off Since 1995 Victory At Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014) — Former Indy car and Formula 1 champion Jacques Villeneuve will compete in the 98th Working of the Indianapolis 500 in a car prepared by Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, his 1st participation in “The Biggest Spectacle in Racing” because winning the occasion in 1995. Jacques Villeneuve

Villeneuve’;s entry in the 2014 Indianapolis 500 marks the 20th anniversary of his first start in 1994, in which the French-Canadian driver completed second and claimed Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the 12 months honors. Villeneuve, 42, won the race and the CART season championship the following 12 months.

“To have the possibility to return to Indy vehicle racing and the Indianapolis 500 is one thing I never ever considered possible,” Villeneuve said. “The memories I have there will stay with me for the rest of my lifestyle, and I am excited to generate new memories in 2014.”

Following his CART championship, Villeneuve jumped to Formula One particular in 1996, winning 11 of his initial 34 grands prix and the Drivers’; Planet Championship for Williams in 1997. He remained a Formula 1 normal with BAR, Renault and Sauber before switching to NASCAR in 2007.

Villeneuve has competed in picked Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and Camping Planet Truck Series occasions as well as the 24 Hrs of Le Mans. He is a single of 2 drivers to compete in IndyCar, NASCAR Sprint Cup and Formula One vehicles at Indianapolis. The other is 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya, who is returning to the IndyCar Series in 2014 as a total-time driver with Crew Penske.

“I’;ve been lucky ample to compete in many of the world’;s leading racing series, and nothing excites me a lot more than getting into the IndyCar Series at its current degree of competitiveness,” Villeneuve mentioned. “Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has proven itself ready to compete with the biggest of teams, and I am thrilled to get to work with Sam and the team and start getting ready for Might.”

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, led by group principal Sam Schmidt and businessman Ric Peterson, is coming into its third year of competition in the IndyCar Series. In its first season as a a single-car operation with Simon Pagenaud in 2012, the group rapidly made its mark as Pagenaud claimed the Rookie of the Yr title and placed fifth in the series championship.

Following Peterson’;s addition to ownership in 2013, the group expanded to 2 autos, once again capturing Rookie of the Year honors with 2012 Firestone Indy Lights champion Tristan Vautier and gathering 2 wins and third place in the series championship with Pagenaud.

“We’;re really pleased to have a driver of the caliber of Jacques in our lineup in Might,” Schmidt said. “He is a former winner in the event and brings tremendous expertise from his achievement in the world’;s best racing series. The trust Jacques is placing in Schmidt Peterson Motorsports also validates the progress all of our group members have produced in generating an organization capable of competing with any individual.”

Mentioned Peterson: “Obtaining grown up in Canada, the identify Villeneuve is synonymous with winning. I was even there in particular person when he won the Indy 500 in 1995, and Jacques currently being the only Canadian to win that huge event, it gave me a huge sense of national pride. It is an honor to have the chance to be involved in bringing Jacques back to the ‘500,’; and we seem forward to a amazing end result.”

Villeneuve’;s victory in 1995 at Indianapolis came soon after a stirring drive. He was 2 laps down midway via the 500-Mile Race, but rallied to win by 2.481 seconds in a Group Green entry.

“This May is shaping up to be unbelievably interesting, so the return of Jacques Villeneuve to the Indy 500 couldn’;t be greater timed,” said Mark Miles, CEO, Hulman & Company. “Race fans from close to the planet will be dialed in to see a champion return to the track. We cannot wait to welcome him back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

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