IndyCar: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports confirms Jacques Villeneuve for Indy 500

From press release

Former Indy car and Formula 1 champion Jacques Villeneuve will compete in the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500 in a car prepared by Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, his first participation in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” since winning the event in 1995.

Villeneuve’s entry in the 2014 Indianapolis 500 marks the 20th anniversary of his first start in 1994, in which the French-Canadian driver finished second and claimed Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year honors. Villeneuve, 42, won the race and the CART season championship the following year.

Jacques Villeneuve

Jacques Villeneuve ((Photo: René Fagnan)

Albatec Racing has released Jacques Villeneuve from his contract to contest the UK round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, after it emerged the Canadian has been approached to contest the prestigious Indy 500, which clashes with the Lydden Hill round on Sunday 25 May.

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, led by team principal Sam Schmidt and businessman Ric Peterson, is entering its third year of competition in the IndyCar Series. In its first season as a one-car operation with Simon Pagenaud in 2012, the team quickly made its mark as Pagenaud claimed the Rookie of the Year title and placed fifth in the series championship.

Following Peterson’s addition to ownership in 2013, the team expanded to two cars, again capturing Rookie of the Year honors with 2012 Firestone Indy Lights champion Tristan Vautier and gathering two wins and third place in the series championship with Pagenaud.

“We’re very pleased to have a driver of the caliber of Jacques in our lineup in May,” Schmidt said.

“He’s a former winner in the event and brings tremendous experience from his success in the world’s top racing series. The trust Jacques is putting in Schmidt Peterson Motorsports also validates the progress all of our team members have made in creating an organization capable of competing with anyone.”

“Having grown up in Canada, the name Villeneuve is synonymous with winning,” said Ric Peterson.

“I was even there in person when he won the Indy 500 in 1995, and Jacques being the only Canadian to win that huge event, it gave me a huge sense of national pride. It is an honor to have the opportunity to be involved in bringing Jacques back to the ’500,’ and we look forward to a fantastic result.”

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