Former F1 champion Jacques Villeneuve to compete in World Rallycross Championship
|By Hal Ridge||Thursday, February 13th 2014, 12:00 GMT|
Former Formula 1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve has signed to contest the new World Rallycross Championship.
The French-Canadian driver, who claimed the 1997 F1 title with Williams as part of a 163-grand-prix career, will be team-mate to British driver Andy Scott in an Albatec Racing run Peugeot 208.
"I am really looking forward to entering the rallycross arena with Albatec Racing," said Villeneuve, who recently tested the 208 at Dreux in France.
"We had a very successful test in France. I was very impressed with the quality of the team, particularly on the engineering side, it reminded me of my time in F1.
"The car is just so responsive, the power is amazing and with 600bhp to play with, who wouldn't be excited?"
Villeneuve is one of only two drivers to have won the CART Indycar World Series, Indianapolis 500 and F1 crown. More recently he has competed at the Le Mans 24 Hours, in NASCAR and the Andros Trophy ice-racing series.
"With my previous ice-racing experience, I'm excited about driving sideways in a 600bhp, four-wheel-drive car over the combination of loose and Tarmac surfaces," said the 42-year-old.
"I'm a racer and of course I want to win, but there are lots of unknowns going into a new championship, and with a new car.
"I certainly hope to win races, but I appreciate there are a lot of things I don't know, so 2014 will be a learning year."
Owned by Villeneuve's 2014 team-mate Scott, the Albatec Racing squad ran British World Rally Championship star Kris Meeke to fastest times at the French round of the championship at Loheac last season.
The World Rallycross Championship gets underway at Montalegre in Portugal on May 3-4.
It also includes an event in front of Villeneuve's Canadian home fans on August 7-8, taking place at the Trois-Rivieres street venue made famous by his legendary father Gilles' Formula Atlantic exploits in the mid-1970s.
2014 World Rallycross Championship:
May 3-4 Montalegre (P) May 24-25 Lydden Hill (GB)* June 14-15 Hell (N)* June 28-29 Kouvola (FIN) July 5-6 Holjes (S) July 12-13 Mettet (B)* August 7-8 Trois-Rivieres (CA) September 6-7 Loheac (F) September 21-22 Buxtehude (D)* September 27-28 Franciacorta (I) * October 11-12 Istanbul Park (TR) November 22-23 Argentina, TBA * Counts for European championship