Villeneuve back to Indy 500 after 19 years

Jacques Villeneuve is set to return to the Indianapolis 500 19 years after he won the event.

The Canadian is expected to be announced this week in a third entry for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, alongside Simon Pagenaud and Mikhail Aleshin.

He raced in the then Champcar series in 1994 and 1995. He scored his maiden win at Elkhart Lake in his first season and went on to win both the title and the 500 the following year, before heading to F1 with Williams.

Villeneuve, who turns 43 in April, is also competing in rallycross this year.


Filed under F1 News, Grand Prix News

11 responses to “Villeneuve back to Indy 500 after 19 years

  1. Steve W

    What’s the record for the longest period between Indy 500 participations?

    And it was called CART back then. Champcar came later…

  2. CTP

    I hear he’s already started writing his list of excuses.

  3. GeorgeK

    A dying event desperately seeking attention. Considering who Sam’s other two obscure drivers are (at least Pagenaud has some experience) I can’t blame him for reaching out to Le Bebe for attention.

    Truly hope it does not end in a disaster, if the aged Canadian can even make the field.

    • Stone the Crows

      That’s always a concern when you have teams that are put together just to fill out the field for Indy. Some are horrifically inexperienced to be running 225mph+ on a superspeedway with 30 other cars running at the same speed, others are worryingly over the hill and rusty. Despite how much I love tradition and motorsport’s history, they really do need to tighten up the Indy 500, there are so many events such as carb day that don’t really have any meaning any more. It still has a good purse, but drivers and teams have to dedicate a month of fussing and fiddling with cars, wasting time and money to participate. And I can’t fathom the point of qualifying nearly a week before you run the race. I don’t begrudge the Hulman family or the city of Indianapolis making a profit off of running the race, but I think they’d benefit by cutting it down to a week or so.

    • So GeorgeK, have you been to the Indy 500? If you actually go to the event I don’t think you’ll feel the way you do. Ask F1 pitlane reporter Will Buxton what he thinks of Indy. An F1 GP is great, but they are simply one of many; the Indy 500 stands alone in the racing world, regardless of it’s association with USAC, CART, IRL, etc. You need to attend it, then you can judge.

      • GeorgeK

        I don’t disagree with you on the excitement of the racing, I’ve been watching the Indy 500 for the better part of 40 years. I was referencing the management’s trashing of the entire Indy Car series and subsequent effect on the 500. Field fillers just to get to 33 cars; no real bump day impact and thus the lack of qualifying stress and excitement.

        Can you honestly say the 500’s of today match the national importance previously associated with this event, up to and including the early 2000’s?

  4. peterg

    The lack of experienced regulars, all to make up the traditional 33, scares me. When it goes wrong on a super speedway, there is no such thing as a minor accident.

  5. Btw, for all his negatives, JV is the only guy who truly had zero fear of Schumi and his around the outside pass of MS at Estoril is still the best pass in the last 20 years of F1.

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