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
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
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Plus

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organisation - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR
Aug 31, 2021
The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin Plus

The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin

A multiple F3000 race winner, Marc Goossens was on the precipice of making Formula 1 in the 1990s - but a lack of budget left him without a path to the promised land. Turning to an illustrious racing career in sportscars, Goossens left the endurance circuit to try his hand at racing stock cars - and now calls the NASCAR Euro Series home

NASCAR
Jul 1, 2021
Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR Plus

Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR

There has never been a full-time British driver in the NASCAR Cup. But Alex Sedgwick, who is rising through the stock car ranks, wants that to change and could be a trailblazer for European talents to reach the top echelons of the NASCAR ladder

NASCAR
Feb 28, 2021
How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport Plus

How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport

It's 20 years since legendary driver Dale Earnhardt Sr died at the Daytona 500, but the legacy of his crash continues today through the pioneering safety work done by NASCAR

NASCAR
Feb 18, 2021
The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021 Plus

The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season

NASCAR
Feb 12, 2021