Jacques Villeneuve will be making a return to NASCAR Whelen Euro Series in 2021 after it was announced that Villeneuve will be joining Academy Motorsport to drive the team’s No. 5 EuroNASCAR FJ in the EuroNASCAR PRO class.
Jacques Villeneuve will be returning to NASCAR Whelen Euro Series in 2021 after it was announced yesterday that Villeneuve is joining Academy Motorsport to drive the team’s No. 5 EuroNASCAR FJ in the EuroNASCAR PRO class.
The announcement meant that Villeneuve is scheduled to be returning to full-time competition in 2021, having been forced to miss the second half of the 2020 season due to clashes with his F1 commentary duties with Canal+.
Villeneuve, who had previously worked together with Academy Motorsport’s co-owner Alex Caffi during a tire test at Franciacorta in 2019, showcased enthusiasm on his new opportunity with Caffi and Federico Monti at Academy Motorsport.
“I am super excited to enter this season with a brand new team and the great enthusiasm everyone is showing. Federico (Monti) and Alex (Caffi) bring the perfect mix of positive attitude, experience and knowledge we need to hit the ground running with this new project,” said Villeneuve to euronascar.com. “I’m confident we have what it takes to go for the win in every race of the 2021 NWES season.”
For Academy Motorsport’s co-owner Federico Monti, the announcement of Villeneuve joining his team meant that he is now able to work together with one of his favorite drivers.
“I was a great fan of Jacques’ father Gilles. When he passed I was 10 years old and I wrote a letter to Jacques’ mother telling her I was dreaming of a Villeneuve being World Champion one day. Jacques not only became World Champion but he also became a very special and unique driver to me, because of the way he drove and his attitude outside the car,” said Monti.
“He’s the only non-Ferrari driver I ever rooted for and giving him the opportunity to chase a NASCAR title is just incredible. I really think that together with Alex Caffi and with the support of Race Art Technology, we can do something special and I want to thank everyone involved. We are putting all our efforts into this new adventure.”
As for Alex Caffi, his collaboration with Villeneuve at Academy Motorsport meant that for the first time in NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, two ex-Formula One drivers will be joining forces together in a single team.
Caffi hopes that with Villeneuve joining the team, Academy Motorsport will be able to make a proper challenge for the overall series title in 2021.
“I’m extremely happy. It’s fantastic to have a Formula 1 World Champion with us. As I said in previous occasions, this partnership with Federico Monti and Academy Motorsport is really taking our project to the next level,” said Caffi to euronascar.com.
“Thanks to this joint-venture, we will finally challenge for the EuroNASCAR PRO title with Jacques, but we can also have our say in all NWES championships, from the EuroNASCAR 2 with Vladimiros (Tziortzis, who will drive the team’s No. 1 car in EN2) to the Club Challenge with Federico himself. I can’t wait to get started, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series reached a very high level of competitiveness in the last few years and it’s fantastic to take this further step forward.”
Villeneuve’s announcement also further confirms that both he and Patrick Lemarie – who had announced his move to DF1 Racing last month – will not retain the ownership stake that they had at FEED Vict Racing, ending the partnership deal that they signed with Dario Caso and Onofrio Veneziani after just one season.
FEED Vict has since competed in the EuroNASCAR Esports Series under the Vict Motorsport banner, indicating that Caso will now serve as the team’s primary owner in 2021.
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard.