Based on former F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve, NASCAR is, after Formulation 1, the largest motorsport class on the planet. As such, the now 51-year-old driver want to compete in essentially the most well-known American racing class in 2023.
On the 2022 Daytona 500, the Canadian confirmed he’s nonetheless quick, and Villeneuve hopes to have made his mark with this look. RacingNews365.com spoke to the flamboyant driver on the Monza circuit and located that Villeneuve has not but put the well-known ‘Triple Crown’ out of his thoughts both.
“It was nice to take part on this 12 months’s Daytona 500,” Villeneuve enthusiastically started his overview of the NASCAR race he drove at first of 2022.
“It was an ideal weekend, with two motorhomes that my household stayed in as a result of my two eldest sons additionally got here to see me. It was a extremely cool weekend due to that.
“I drove a extremely good weekend and tried to assist the smaller Hezeberg group by bringing two skilled guys alongside.
“They had been Tommy Baldwin and Invoice Burns, each of whom I’ve identified for a very long time. I had labored with Burns within the European NASCAR championship during which I used to be competing in opposition to Crew Hezeberg and Loris Hezemans.”
Challenges of the Daytona 500
Based on the Canadian, the Daytona 500 is a difficult occasion even earlier than the race begins. Identical to it was once in Formulation 1, as a driver and group you must attempt to qualify for the race first: “It was a tough race in Daytona and truly we could not even have certified for the race.
“You see, we had been a small group, however nonetheless we made the present and even completed the race, which was implausible. Outstanding additionally as a result of we had a variety of technical issues within the run-up, so we had little testing time.
“Thankfully, I had pushed some NASCAR up to now and in addition at some ovals, so in consequence I knew fairly just a few of the drivers who had been racing and that helped so much. They revered me and I revered them, in order that permits you to race one another as effectively.”
There was additionally a second that Villeneuve visibly seems again on with pleasure.
“It was a particular occasion for me as a result of simply earlier than the beginning Mr Ford got here to say hey to me, that was particular.”
© Crew Hezeberg
Villeneuve reveals future NASCAR hopes
“After the race, some drivers got here as much as me to go with me, as a result of nothing had gone flawed,” Villeneuve continued.
“That was cool, as a result of you must earn the respect of the drivers in any case. It was an ideal expertise, however sadly it was simply the Daytona race. I might have appreciated to have pushed a number of races with the group, which was the plan, however sadly the group did not observe by means of.
“I used to be disenchanted about that as a result of I might have beloved to have raced in NASCAR and moved on with the group. It’s what it’s and I perceive that the group put all their playing cards on Loris Hezemans, as a result of that was all the time expressed by them beforehand as effectively.”
At present, Villeneuve is attending Grands Prix as an analyst for Canal+. In consequence, the previous Williams driver has little time to race himself, however in 2023 Villeneuve’s life may look so much completely different.
“I positively wish to proceed in NASCAR and even to do a complete season!” he stated.
“In the meanwhile, I am busy so much with Canal+’s TV broadcasts which takes up a variety of time, so in consequence I am not in racing vehicles sufficient in the intervening time. Nonetheless, the plan is to go full NASCAR.
“I’ve all the time beloved NASCAR and have all the time beloved driving on ovals, for instance in IndyCar [the class in which Villeneuve won the Indy 500 and the championship in 1995].”
What Villeneuve loves about NASCAR
“It goes up with racing in NASCAR and I like that a lot. So I like working with the engineers to make the automobile higher, however when the beginning lights exit I would like to have the ability to go for it,” Villeneuve defined in regards to the sequence.
“When there’s harm they repair it with the hammer in NASCAR and that is simply the sort of factor I like. It is nonetheless within the old school manner of bettering the automobile.
“You sit down with the engineer and talk about nook by nook what you’re feeling and what must be improved. I like that!”
Regardless of NASCAR’s unprecedented reputation in America, the category isn’t on the listing of how racing drivers can win the legendary Triple Crown, the unofficial prestigious title in motorsport that, in accordance with many, requires a driver to win the Indy 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Monaco Grand Prix. Others class successful the F1 World Championship as taking the place of victory in Monaco.
Up to now, solely Graham Hill has managed to take the Triple Crown. The legendary Briton not solely earned the three aforementioned prizes, but in addition gained the Monaco Grand Prix. The latter race Villeneuve by no means gained, however already has the 1997 F1 world title and the 1995 Indy 500 victory to his identify.
Triple Crown stays a objective for Villeneuve
In 2008, Villeneuve completed second with Peugeot on the 24 Hours of Le Mans, so he can not but name himself a Triple Crown winner. Though it will likely be tough for Villeneuve so as to add the lacking achievement to his identify, he doesn’t rule out the chance.
“I nonetheless wish to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” the Canadian defined.
“That’s nonetheless lacking from my listing of honours to get the Triple Crown collectively. That is why I might like to nonetheless drive the 24 Hours of Le Mans, however that will probably be tough.
“It’s tough to get a seat as a result of the manufacturing facility groups have already got complete tasks prepared, however in fact I might like to win the Triple Crown. It’s what it’s and for now I’m specializing in NASCAR.
“It is extremely tough to carry out effectively in that class. Followers all the time assume they aren’t technological vehicles driving there, however nothing may very well be farther from the reality.
“These vehicles are extremely effectively constructed and it is laborious to get that final bit further out of such a automobile and that is precisely what I like about NASCAR.”