On the same date last year, Jacques Villeneuve said he was looking forward to celebrating his fiftieth birthday. This day arrived on April 9, 2021.
“My opinion has not changed,” he said in a generous telephone interview conducted by the newspaper on Thursday. I don’t feel old at all. ”
One thing is for sure, the word retirement is not in its vocabulary. On the contrary, he is set to play a full-time third season in the Euro NASCAR series of cars. The season is due to start in Valencia, Spain, on May 15th.
This tournament is the European version of the NASCAR Cup in the United States. About thirty pilots are involved. Aside from his podium appearances in 2019 and 2020, his first win is still pending.
He said, “I came close to winning last year, but this is just a delay. I don’t see the day I’m going to hang up my helmet, he is amusing himself by reminding us. Running is my life and that’s the best thing I do.”
Villeneuve admits that despite his 50 years of success he aspires to a higher level.
“If another opportunity presents itself, I would like to return to Le Mans,” he says. I haven’t had any discussion this year, but the door has not closed. I am still young.”
Villeneuve took part in two runs in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the most famous endurance race on the planet. On his second and final appearance, he placed second in 2008.
Villeneuve’s story is the story of a Quebec resident of undeniable talent, who successfully ascended the motor racing ranks while fulfilling the unfinished dream of his father, Jill, who died tragically on May 8, 1982 at the Zolder Circuit in Belgium.
He was not named on the shortlist of 33 drivers who have won the F1 World Championship since 1950, but he also achieved an unforgettable victory in the prestigious Indianapolis 500 Mile Classic in 1995.
Two milestones that no other representative of the maple leaf has accomplished yet. When you win the F1 title, as he did in 1997, it lasts a lifetime. Villeneuve is not a former world champion as some describe him.
Recruited by Frank Williams in 1996, Villeneuve entered Formula 1 by taking the lead on his first major prize in Melbourne, Australia. In this regard, only five other drivers have preceded him in the history of the main field of motorsport, and Villeneuve was the last to do so.
With victory seemed certain to him, an oil spill forced him to soften and cede control of the race to teammate Damon Hill.
At the end of a year marked by the dominance of Williams’ team, the Briton was crowned world champion. Villeneuve would follow in his footsteps the following year.
“Today I am even more proud of my success. Because I realize, more than ever, that car racing was good for me. But at the time, I was completely unaware of the public’s recognition of me,” he says.
This magical evening at Molson Center, a few days after he won the championship, being introduced to the crowd before the Canadiens match, made him feel uncomfortable.
He replies, “My regret did not realize that people love me very much at the present time.” These are unforgettable events in my life. Today, I want to thank them very much. “