World Endurance Championship: full-time driving for Jacques Villeneuve

World Endurance Championship: full-time driving for Jacques Villeneuve


Jacques Villeneuve will indeed take part in the prestigious World Endurance Championship in 2023, which will kick off on March 17 at the Sebring circuit in Florida. < /p>

The 51-year-old driver has been recruited by the new Austrian team Vanwall to compete in all seven stops on a calendar that includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 

Last month, Villeneuve said there “remained a few details to finalize before confirming his presence”. However, in an interview with Journal on Monday, he indicated that the agreement had been ratified. 

“I will be in Sebring for the first race of the season and for all the other events in 2023. I have long hoped to land a steering wheel in this very competitive series,” he said. 

Major manufacturers involved

More than ever, the World Endurance Championship (WEC) attracts the biggest manufacturers on the planet. The list will include in 2023 the names of Ferrari, Porsche, Peugeot, Toyota, Aston Martin and Cadillac in particular. 

Villeneuve will reconnect with the most famous of endurance events, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which will take place on June 10 and 11 in France. This will be his third participation in this annual meeting. In 2008, he took the second step of the podium with his teammates Nicolas Minassian and Marc Gené aboard a Peugeot. 

A calendar of seven races awaits Jacques Villeneuve in the World Endurance Championship.

“Since December I have been on a rigorous training schedule because these cars are very physically demanding. I want to put the odds on my side,” he added. 

For the first time since 2005 

Villeneuve n has not raced full-time in an international series since 2005 when he was engaged in Formula 1. As a reminder, he had been dismissed from his services by the BMW-Sauber team after the German Grand Prix last year. next.

He will share the wheel of his Vanwall Vandervell 360 racing car, entered in the premier Hypercar category, with Frenchman Tom Dillmann and Argentinian Esteban Guerrieri. 

“There is only one formality left to settle , that of the homologation of the car and the team with the International Automobile Federation, to underline the F1 world champion in 1997. But a good number of teams are also waiting for this certificate.” < /p>

Owner appeals

The only downside, the owner of the Vanwall team, Colin Kolles, lost the lawsuit he had filed with the EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office) against the company Sanderson International Marketing, which holds the rights to the Vanwall brand in England. 

The sporting regulations of the World Endurance Championship state that in order to enter a car, the team must hold the rights to said brand or an agreement with the owners concerned. This is currently not the case. 

Kolles, who led ex-F1 team Caterham, has confirmed his intentions to appeal the decision. However, this imbroglio does not seem to worry Villeneuve six weeks before the curtain raiser for the season. 

2023 World Endurance Championship schedule

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  • March 17: Sebring, Florida (1600 km) 
  • April 16: Portimão, Portugal (6 hours) 
  • April 29: Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium (6 hours) 
  • June 10 and 11: Le Mans, France (24 hours) < /li>
  • July 9: Monza, Italy (6 hours) 
  • September 10: Fuji, Japan (6 hours) 
  • November 4: Sakhir, Bahrain (8 hours) 
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