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Jacques Villeneuve to return to Indianapolis 500 with Schmidt

Jacques Villeneuve, Indianapolis 500 1995

Jacques Villeneuve will return to the Indianapolis 500 this year, 19 years after he won the race.

The 42-year-old will drive a third Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entry in what will be his first single-seater race since he left Formula 1 after the 2006 German Grand Prix.

"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.

"Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has proven itself able to compete with the largest of teams, and I am excited to get to work with [team co-owner] Sam [Schmidt] and the team and start preparing for May."

The 1997 F1 world champion and 1995 CART title-winner has made sporadic appearances in NASCAR and sportscars since his split with Sauber.

Schmidt said that Villeneuve's return to Indianapolis was a vindication of the progress being made by the SPM team, which took Simon Pagenaud to third in last year's IndyCar standings.

Villeneuve relives his 1995 Indy win

"We're very pleased to have a driver of the calibre of Jacques in our line-up in May," Schmidt said.

"He's a former winner in the event and brings tremendous experience from his success in the world's top racing series.

"The trust Jacques is putting in Schmidt Peterson Motorsports also validates the progress all of our team members have made in creating an organisation capable of competing with anyone."

The Canadian recovered from two laps down to win the 1995 Indy 500 when leader Scott Goodyear was penalised for illegally passing the pace car during a late restart.

Villeneuve has already announced that he will contest the new World Rallycross Championship this year.

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