Jacques Villeneuve: 2019 just a “test“ for 2020?

Jacques Villeneuve: 2019 just a “test“ for 2020?
Chris Liemann

Jacques Villeneuve spoke to ‘Leadlap.net‘ about his future in motor racing – The NWES could become his new home

On his return to Hockenheim, the former Indy 500 and Formula One champion scored solid top-10 results with a fifth and seventh place finish in NASCAR Whelen Euro Series‘ (NWES) ELITE-1-Division. The Canadian is hungry for more though, which is why the 2019 season could be just a test for an extended 2020 EuroNASCAR campaign.

This year Villeneuve made his NWES debut, competing over a full season for the first time since his retirement from F1 in 2006. Lying eighth in the ELITE-1 standings and having scored a sensational pole position at the Venray oval, the 48-year-old is happy with his comeback.

“We don’t really have a shop to prepare the car. We usually arrive at trackside with a mechanic and an engineer on a Thursday or Friday morning [before a race weekend] to prepare our car. Still, we are quick on track. It’s fun running here in the NWES,” Villeneuve reports to ‘Leadlap.net‘

NWES – fans can be hopeful to find the outspoken Canadian again on the 2020 grid: “It’s a year of learning for me, to see how everything works around here in EuroNASCAR. I am hoping to be running my own team next year. That’s what I am working on right now.“

Villeneuve criticises European race schooling

However, there is also criticism: The #32 Go Fas Camaro driver is not exactly impressed with the driving style of some of his colleagues. The experienced Canadian was backed in his view by race control, which spoke out several post-race penalties late into the evening after Saturday’s race.

“There is a fine line between aggressive and not correct driving, that is what some drivers just don’t seem to get,” Villeneuve criticises. “When the car in front just blocks all the time and leaves no space, it is no surprise that accidents happen.“

He adds: “People often criticise that there isn’t enough overtaking nowadays. But how should you overtake if you are not given any space on the track? It’s the same story with being pushed into the grass, it’s just not clean racing. Race control was obliged to speak out all those penalties.“

In retrospective the Canadian claims: “It wasn’t like that in the 90s. Back then there was respect for each other on the track and you left space for the other drivers. Blocking has become a bad habit in the last years, from karting up to the higher classes.“

Coming to Zolder will be special

The EuroNASCAR finals will be held at the Belgian track of Zolder on October 5-6. Since its addition to the calendar in 2015 it has become a tradition to come to Zolder for the finals – the same goes for the popular car parade on public roads Thursday before the race.

While the main focus of the final races will lie on who will be crowned the new EuroNASCAR champion, it will be a particularly emotional weekend for Jacques Villeneuve: “I am excited to come to Zolder. I have never been there. It is going to be the first time I come to the track where my father passed away. It is going to be special.“

The interview was held by Chris Liemann and Simon Mones

Chris Liemann, André Wiegold and Simon Mones