After two days of warm-up tests at Daytona, Jacques Villeneuve’s goal has not changed: he wants to take part in the highly-anticipated NASCAR Cup to kick off the 2022 season.
“Daytona is trying to get my place in the opening grid of 500 miles and is aiming to return to Florida next month,” he said in a telephone interview with the Formula 1 world champion. Journal Yesterday evening. Everything went well. We mainly focus on riding alone to maximize our chances in qualifying. “
“Unless there’s a bad surprise, I clearly do not want to,” he continued, “our team [Team Hezeberg] The adventure hopes to continue. “
Founded in the Netherlands, the team is taking the first steps in NASCAR’s Queen Discipline. Villeneuve was hired by the company to run the most famous American stock car racing complex.
The Daytona 500 takes place on February 20 and brings together all of NASCAR’s big names, including Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Kevin Harwick, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano.
“We are a small team with limited financial resources,” Villeneuve admitted. You will have to attend one of the two qualifying events so nothing is known for sure. [communément appelées les « Duels »], Thursday evening a few days before the race to confirm our place on the starting grid. “
“The good news is, Wednesday is our time [hier] Compared to another driver at the end of the day, he will need to complete the step successfully
“All hope is allowed”
According to his estimates, four drivers will fight for the six seats still available on the starting grid. All other owners of the NASCAR franchise are guaranteed a place on the opening grid, regardless of their outcome on the “duels”.
“All hope is allowed,” Villeneuve said. The team has not made an official statement, but their intentions are clear. She wants to run to Daytona. For my part, I would not have made the trip to Florida just for fun. “
The last (and only) presence of a 50-year-old experienced pilot at Daytona was in 2008. A puncture in one of the two “duels” destroyed his course, preventing him from becoming the first cubs after Dick Foley. 1960, considered NASCAR’s “Super Bowl” for participating in this race.
Dad for the fifth time
At a press conference in Daytona yesterday, Villeneuve did not hide his passion for racing, despite his age and especially in other professions.
Villeneuve has four openings in the NASCAR Premier Division. The best result is shown as 21E Speed ring like Talladegao Place, Daytona in 2007, and its last test in 2013 was on the Sonoma Road circuit.
Since then, although he has been regularly involved in other projects, he has never given up the idea of returning to North America.
“Focusing on racing here is a bit difficult because I live in Italy,” he said. I’m very busy as a Formula 1 analyst [pour le réseau français Canal +] And do children. “
Coincidentally, Villeneuve was eager to get home. His new partner, Italian Giulia Marra, will give birth to a baby in a few weeks.
“But,” he concluded, “it doesn’t stop me from driving in a Daytona.”
Villeneuve is the father of four boys born from two previous unions.
– With Tommy Thurber, agency QMI