Villeneuve eyes Masters drive
|By Steven English||Thursday, April 24th 2008, 15:37 GMT|
Former world champion Jacques Villeneuve wants to race in the relaunched Grand Prix Masters series, which is planned for later this year.
The previous incarnation of the series held three races in 2005 and 2006 with stars of the past including Nigel Mansell and Emerson Fittipaldi.
It officially folded last year, but Delta Motorsport, who produced and ran the cars, are behind a plan to revive the series.
Villeneuve is the first driver to signal his intention to race in it, and he hopes the removal of the minimum age of 45 will encourage more drivers to take part.
"Masters is a great idea and if it's done properly it could be massive," the Canadian told Autosport. "It would be good to get some younger guys like me into the cars so you don't give the drivers time go away and get rusty.
"I watched one of the first races on TV and thought it would be great to compete against a guy like Nigel Mansell.
"If it happens I really want to be part of it. If for some reason I can't do it, I still want it to happen so I can watch it. I really believe in the concept."
Villeneuve also suggested that ballast could be used to help to equalise the field if there was a wide spread between driver's ages.
"You could possibly equalise things with weight. The younger you are, the more kilos you have to carry."
The original Grand Prix Masters chassis will be retained, but will be restyled and fitted with a new engine, possibly a small capacity turbo with around 600bhp.
Delta have a fleet of 15 cars and company boss Simon Dowson hopes to have the first new version running by July. He is also negotiating with potential partners for the venture but it optimistic that a deal could be reached next month.
"We've turned away investors. It's not just about the money, we need to ensure the partner we choose has the media and marketing expertise to make the series a success," he said.
A five-event series is being planned for the winter months at the end of this season.