At age 51, the 1997 F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve is gearing up to once again enter a high-profile international racing event. He intends to compete in the upcoming Daytona 500 NASCAR race scheduled for 20 February 2022. He will make a final decision this week following a test at the legendary Speedway driving a Ford Mustang proudly carrying his (and his late-father Gilles’) famous number 27.
Villeneuve, who is an FIA Hall of Fame inductee, left F1 mid-way through the 2006 season. Since then, he been generally unsuccessful in sportscar, GT, NASCAR, rallycross, Brazilian stock car, Porsche Cup, Formula-e and other forms of racing in which he has competed. His last major international victory came in 2008 when he won the 1000km sportscar race at Spa in Belgium driving for Peugeot.
That said, in 2021 he competed in the Whelen Euro Series, a NASCAR-sanctioned European-domiciled regional series using earlier-generation NASCAR-style stock cars limited to 400 horsepower. Villeneuve achieved two victories in the final round in Spain and finished ninth in the overall points standings.
The Whelen champion is Dutch driver Loris Hezemans who also won the title in 2019. Loris is the son of Toine Hezemans, the well-known touring car and prototype racer of the late sixties and early seventies.
Photocredit: Motor Sport Magazine