News & Multimedia

Villeneuve Joins Indy 500 Lineup

Memories of competing in the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race "will stay with me for the rest of my life," Jacques Villeneuve says. In May, the French Canadian driver says he's "excited to create new memories."

Two decades after earning Rookie of the Year honors with a runner-up finish and 19 years removed from his scintillating victory, Villeneuve will return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to compete in the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 25 in a Honda-powered car prepared by Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

Team co-owners Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson made the announcement at the Indianapolis race shop, with Villeneuve joining via satellite from Andorra.

“To have the opportunity to return to Indy car racing and the Indianapolis 500 is something I never thought possible,” said Villeneuve, 42, whose Indianapolis 500 victory was among four that season en route to the CART championship. “I’ve been fortunate enough to compete in several of the world’s top racing series, and nothing excites me more than entering the IndyCar Series at its current level of competitiveness. Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has proven itself able to compete with the largest of teams, and I am excited to get to work with Sam and the team and start preparing for May.”

Opening Day at the 2.5-mile oval is May 11 -- less than 24 hours after the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the reconfigured IMS road course. Qualifications are scheduled for May 17-18.

Following his CART championship, Villeneuve found continued success in Formula One. He won 11 of his 34 races and earned the World Championship for Williams in 1997. He remained a Formula One regular with BAR, Renault and Sauber before returning to North America in 2007 to compete in stock cars. He and Juan Pablo Montoya, the 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner who will contest the full IndyCar Series season for Team Penske, are the only drivers to compete in IndyCar, NASCAR Sprint Cup and Formula One cars at Indianapolis. Villeneuve last competed at the Speedway in the 2010 Brickyard 400.

Villeneuve, Mario Andretti and Emerson Fittipaldi are the only drivers to win the Indianapolis 500, the CART championship and the F1 drivers title.

Simon Pagenaud, who placed third in the 2013 IndyCar Series championship, and rookie Mikhail Aleshin are the full-time drivers for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

“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.”

Villeneuve, who started in the middle of the second row in the Team Green car, was two laps down midway through the 200-lap race because of a penalty incurred for passing the pace car twice under caution. He closed strong and won by 2.481 seconds. The race also was memorable to Peterson.

“Having grown up in Canada, the name Villeneuve is synonymous with winning," he said. "I was there in person 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.”
 

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Villeneuve Joins Indy 500 Lineup
 
Villeneuve Joins Indy 500 Lineup
Two decades after earning Rookie of the Year honors with a runner-up finish and 19 years removed from his scintillating victory, Villeneuve will return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to compete in the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 25 in a Honda-powered car prepared by Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Read More
Related Media
Sky Lounge
 
Sky Lounge, Checkered Flag Club Offer Upscale Options for Red Bull Air Race Viewing
For the first time in more than a century, the racing action at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be in the skies rather than on the pavement for the Red Bull Air Race.
Read More
Ryan Hunter-Reay
 
Pruett's Preview: ABC Supply 500
Ryan Hunter-Reay didn’t want to celebrate his win at Pocono last year. And he wasn’t alone. Points and trophies were duly awarded after the checkered flag flew at the 2-mile superspeedway, but in light of the accident that would claim the life of his teammate Justin Wilson the following day, Pocono 2015 is more a reminder of what IndyCar lost than anything its finishers gained.
Read More
John Cooper
 
Remembering John Cooper
John Cooper, who died Wednesday at the age of 84, was a major player in the motorsports world, not just during his time from 1979-82 as the president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He was the kind of man who knew not only the big sponsor developments of the day, but why Joe Smith missed Saturday night’s feature at the local dirt track. Cooper was as much of a racing enthusiast as a mover-and-shaker.
Read More
Indiana College Preparatory School
 
IMS Sponsoring Two Students in Unique Work-Study Program
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is partnering with Indianapolis’ Providence Cristo Rey College Preparatory School in Indianapolis on its acclaimed program that introduces students to professional work environments.
Read More
Indy 500 Snake Pit
 
Recap Video Brings Indy 500 Snake Pit Experience to Life
The Indy 500 Snake Pit presented by Coors Light was the place to be this Memorial Day Weekend and the 2016 recap video shows exactly why. Click here for an up-close-and-personal look at this massive Race Day phenomenon that sold out for the very first time this year.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 2,302
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at lwyman@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
We had some pretty gnarly weather pass through today. Stay safe, race fans! https://t.co/60Hu7QOIxB
about 9 hours ago