Jacques Villeneuve set for NASCAR Daytona 500 entry

1997 Formula 1 world champion and 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve plans to take another shot at winning NASCAR’s Daytona 500.

Jacques Villeneuve set for NASCAR Daytona 500 entry

Villeneuve has spent Tuesday and Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway driving the #27 Ford in the Next Gen test for Team Hezeberg, a new Cup team this season formed between racing legend Toine Hezemans and Dutch entrepreneur Ernst Berg.

Loris Hezemans, the 2019 NASCAR Euro champion, plans to compete in all the road course events on the Cup schedule in 2022, but is not yet approved for big oval tracks.

Asked to have the chance to compete in the Daytona 500, Villeneuve said: “It would be amazing. The last time I was in NASCAR I think was quite a few years, a lot of years ago. It would be really special.

“It’s a very special race to take part in and it’s hard to get in the show when you have to qualify on time or run the duel [qualifying race]. It makes it more stressful. Just making the show would be something special.”

Team Hezeberg does not own a charter in the Cup series so Villeneuve would have to make the 2022 Daytona 500 field by qualifying speed or racing his way through the qualifying races.

Villeneuve has four Cup series starts in NASCAR but failed to qualify for the Daytona 500 in 2008 with Bill Davis Racing in his only previous attempt, when he was involved in a crash in his qualifying race. He’s run races at Talladega, Phoenix, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Sonoma ovals.

Villeneuve won his first NASCAR Euro race this past season. He has competed in the series since 2019 in addition to his work as an F1 commentator and pundit.

“I’ve always wanted to race in NASCAR,” Villeneuve said. “It’s been a matter of opportunities and it’s became more and more difficult to get racing.”

Race winner Jacques Villeneuve, Academy Motosport / Alex Caffi Motosport

Race winner Jacques Villeneuve, Academy Motosport / Alex Caffi Motosport

Photo by: ErregìMEDIA

Villeneuve said he wasn’t sure what to expect competing in the Next Gen car at Daytona, since he last ran a Cup car on the track back in 2008.

“The track then was really bumpy. These cars have a lot of downforce; they run quite stiff – closer to a GT car,” he said. “They seem to be fairly easy to drive. Right now, we’re not quick [by ourselves], but in the pack, it was super-easy to drive.”

Read Also:

Villeneuve said he appreciates the opportunity to do one or more NASCAR races this season with Team Hezeberg.

“It’s a new team, a small team, and right now we’re focusing on Daytona and hopefully we’ll do more races,” he said. “It felt great to be back in the car. I did a few laps in the Charlotte Roval [Next Gen] test, which was very complicated. The car was strange to drive there.

“To get back [to Daytona], there are a few races in the world that stand out for me – the Indy 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Daytona. It’s part of that very small group of special races that if you get the chance, try it out.”

shares
comments

Related video

Earnhardt: Next Gen introduction not comparable to Car Of Tomorrow
Previous article

Earnhardt: Next Gen introduction not comparable to Car Of Tomorrow

Next article

One Daytona 500 winner's tradition may be altered this season

One Daytona 500 winner's tradition may be altered this season
Load comments
The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team Plus

The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team

Saddled with uncompetitive Minardi machinery, Tarso Marques didn't manage to score points in his three partial seasons of Formula 1. But now the Brazilian has the chance to show what he can do in NASCAR, and explains the story of his comeback with new Cup Series entrant Team Stange

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2022
The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car Plus

The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car

NASCAR’s new stock car generation is encouraging an influx of fresh blood into its top tier. But there are concerns that parts are in short supply as the entire paddock tries to build up stocks at the same time

NASCAR
Feb 22, 2022
How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style Plus

How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style

After holding his nerve and hip-checking his team-mate on the run to the line, Austin Cindric made a perfect start to life as a full-timer in the NASCAR Cup Series by winning the Daytona 500. Here's how the Penske Ford man emerged first across the line in the first points-scoring race for the much-anticipated Next Generation cars

NASCAR
Feb 21, 2022
Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season Plus

Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season

There are plenty of uncertainties ahead of the 2022 NASCAR Cup season as an all-new fleet of cars take to the track for the first time. Ahead of this weekend's Daytona 500, our experts explain what you need to know

NASCAR
Feb 17, 2022
How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of its Next Gen arrival Plus

How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of its Next Gen arrival

The NASCAR Cup kicks off with the Daytona 500 this weekend, but a major overhaul and a subsequent mountain of work has been required to be ready for the arrival of the Next Gen cars

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2022
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Plus

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson’s journey to the 2021 NASCAR Cup title comes straight from the Hollywood blockbuster scripts. While Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines for both the right and the wrong reasons

NASCAR
Nov 10, 2021
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Plus

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup Series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Plus

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR
Oct 5, 2021