Jacques Villeneuve at the Daytona 500? | Automotive News

At the start of each year, NASCAR Series fans prepare for the big party that kicks off the season’s activities – Race Week, which is always held in Daytona in February. The latter is always crowned by the holding of the main event of the series, the Daytona 500.

This year, the event could have a special flavor for racing fans here, as Jacques Villeneuve confirmed yesterday that he plans to participate in the event with the Hezeberg team. It would be a first for this young organization, as well as a first attempt, since 2013, to get started in the great series of NASCAR with regard to Jacques Villeneuve.

The veteran Quebec driver, now 50 years old, took part in preseason testing on Tuesday and Wednesday at the wheel of a Ford bearing the number 27. The latter was of course that of his father during his last Formula 1 campaigns. 1, but it was also used by Jacques himself during his time in the great series of NASCAR. Team Hezeberg’s number 27 car is scheduled to participate in a partial calendar in 2022.

The timing of Jacques Villeneuve’s return to the NASCAR universe is interesting, as a new generation of cars is still being tested and will debut at Daytona. This balances the forces a bit and gives lesser known and established teams a little more chances to carve out a place for the famous 500 mile event.

“It would be amazing. The last time I participated in a NASCAR race in North America, it was several years ago… It will be extremely special because it is also an exceptional race to be part of. And it’s difficult to earn a place at the start, because you have to qualify with a good time or in the duels. It makes things a little more stressful, but being part of the party would already be something special. « 

– Jacques Villeneuve

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Note that several teams (36) have their place already secured due to the fact that they hold a charter ensuring their participation in the season. Places are therefore scarce on the starting grid for « intruders ». In fact, there are four places, because a total of 40 cars will take the start.

Jacques Villeneuve has competed in the European NASCAR Whelen Euro Series for the past two seasons. Recall that the driver with the famous last name made his first name just as famous with a victory in the Indianapolis 500 in 1995, as well as a Formula 1 championship in 1997.

As for the Hezeberg team, they intend to focus on the road circuit events this year. Loris Hezemans, 2019 European Whelen Series Champion, is the main driver, but he has yet to be approved to race in the NASCAR Grand Series. This is what opened the door to Jacques Villeneuve for the tests at Daytona.

The Daytona 500 is due to be held on February 20.

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