Jacques Villeneuve is aiming for a full-time steering wheel

Jacques Villeneuve is aiming for a full-time steering wheel


The word retirement is still not in Jacques Villeneuve's vocabulary, which does not exclude participation in the World Endurance Championship next year. 

The 51-year-old veteran driver has accepted an invitation to test drive a Hypercar from the Vanwall racing team ahead of the new season, which is due to begin in March at the track in Sebring, Florida.

The 1997 Formula 1 world champion traveled to the Barcelona circuit on Wednesday for a private test session to which three other drivers were invited, namely Esteban Guerrieri, Tom Dillmann and Joao Paulo de Oliveira. .

Villeneuve completed around thirty laps of the Spanish track and said he was particularly delighted with his experience.

“It's a real racing car, very efficient, even if the four of us were limited to familiarizing ourselves with its behavior without really pushing the note. But I admit that I had a lot of fun,” Villeneuve told the Journal. 

“I accepted this invitation for several reasons, he added. First of all, the World Endurance Championship is a series that interests me. Then, the Barcelona circuit is a place I know well and, finally, I was able to reconnect with the team's engineer, Jacky Eeckelaert, with whom I worked when I raced with the BAR team. in F1. »

The next step?

At the end of the line, Villeneuve was nevertheless realistic for the future.

“I let the team know that I was interested in racing in Endurance next year and not only at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Me, I'm aiming for a full-time steering wheel, but nothing is guaranteed.

“A new practice session is not planned in the short term, although the team owner, Colin Kolles, was enthusiastic and warm towards me. »

It appears that the Vanwall team, which must receive the green light from the Championship authorities to obtain the homologation certificate, has already confirmed its intentions to recruit Guerrieri and Dillmann for its main car. A second car could then be offered to Villeneuve and de Oliveira if the team manages to find the necessary sponsors and funds.

Failing a second car, Villeneuve could be called upon to join, while at least, the two drivers designated to race at Le Mans.

A podium in 2008

The World Endurance Championship (WEC) will consist of seven stages, the most prestigious of which, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, will be contested on June 10 and 11.

“I would definitely like to race at Le Mans again, but to prepare for it effectively, it would be desirable to take part in all the championship events”, adds Villeneuve. 

< p>The Quebecer has two appearances at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, both at the wheel of a Peugeot. Although his crew was forced to retire in 2007, Villeneuve took second place on the podium the following year alongside his partners, Frenchman Nicolas Minassian and Spaniard Marc Gené.

These three men had won another endurance event, the 1000 km of Spa-Francorchamps, a month earlier.

At Trois-Rivières in January?

Furthermore, the organizers of the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières (GP3R) want to convince Villeneuve to participate in the first winter Rallycross, bringing together electric cars, which will take place on January 20 and 21 on an icy circuit set up at the Hippodrome .

Other big names, including Chase Elliott (NASCAR champion) and Jenson Button (F1 title winner in 2009), could also be part of the entry list, although their presence has not been confirmed. confirmed yet.

“I have had discussions with the GP3R, but again, it is far too early to announce anything. it,” concluded Villeneuve.