Villeneuve back to Indy at 42

2014-02-27 11:59
Jacques Villeneuve (File)

Indianapolis - Former Formula One and IndyCar champion Jacques Villeneuve will attempt a comeback at this year's Indianapolis 500 at the age of 42, race team co-owners San Schmidt and Ric Peterson said on Wednesday.

The Canadian driver was the 1994 IndyCar Rookie of the Year and 1995 Indy 500 winner and IndyCar season champion, setting the stage for a successful F1 career that saw him win the 1997 world championship a year after he was runner-up to Britain's Damon Hill.

"I've been fortunate enough to compete in several of the world's top racing series and nothing excites me more than entering the IndyCar Series at its current level of competitiveness," Villeneuve said.

"To have the opportunity to return to IndyCar racing and the Indianapolis 500 is something I never thought possible. If you have to win one race in the whole of your career, the Indy 500 is the one in any form of motorsports."

Villeneuve, who now serves as an F1 commentator and races in World Rallycross, said he began talking with Schmidt a few weeks ago after watching last season's races and feeling a stir toward climbing back behind the wheel in an open-cockpit race car.

"It all went fast," Villeneuve said. "The discussions happened at the right time because I had been watching the IndyCars last year and it looked extremely exciting, to the point where I was angry and jealous that I wasn't racing. So that got me going again."

Villeneuve had raced US stock cars, events in Australia and elsewhere but gave IndyCar little thought during a bitter fight for control that led to rival IndyCar groups before a re-merger.

"It's getting back to the glory days with the races exciting and also the field of drivers is becoming more and more impressive every year," Villeneuve said.

Villeneuve, Brazil's Emerson Fittipaldi and American legend Mario Andretti are the only drivers to win the Indy 500, F1 crown and IndyCar season titles in their careers.

"I'm a racer at heart and I will always be. That's what keeps me going. That's what keeps me alive," Villeneuve said.

"I don't want to be for my kids just the guy that used to race that they can see in books. I want them to see and live what I've already lived, to see it through my doing it actively."

Villeneuve won 11 Formula One Grand Prix before he moved in 2007 to US stock cars.

His most recent start at the famed 2 1/2-mile Indy oval was at the 2010 Brickyard 400 stock car race.

Villeneuve will be joined for the 500 by full-time Schmidt IndyCar drivers Simon Pagenaud of France and Mikhail Aleshin of Russia.

If Villeneuve qualifies for the 98th running of the Indy 500 on May 25, the 19 years between Indy 500 starts will be a record, surpassing the old mark of 17 by Cy Marshall and Roland Free between 1930 and 1947.

Read more on:    indy 500  |  motorsport

Ogier crashes out in Germany

2014-08-23 16:46


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

Love 2 Meet
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs

Hypothetically, given the same cars to drive, who is the most talented current Formula One driver in your opinion?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.