Jacques Villeneuve will try to achieve what he considers to be racing’s Triple Crown by adding a 24 Hours of Le Mans win to his Indianapolis 500 victory and F1 driver’s championship.
The Canadian, 51, will join the Floyd Vanwall Racing Team to compete in the top Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) prototype class for the full 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), which includes Le Mans.
“My goal was to get back into full-time professional racing and not just do the odd races that I’ve been doing for the last 15 years,” Villeneuve said in an interview on the WEC website. “It’s always been a key goal of mine—to go for the Triple Crown.”
Graham Hill is the only driver so far to achieve the Triple Crown, generally considered to be Le Mans, the Indy 500, and the Monaco Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso is the most recent driver to attempt the feat, adding Le Mans victories in 2018 and 2019 to his back-to-back Monaco Grand Prix wins in 2006 and 2007. But he failed to win the Indy 500 after three attempts in 2017, 2019, and 2020.
Son of legendary Ferrari F1 driver Gilles Villeneuve, Jacques won the 1997 F1 championship and the 1995 IndyCar title, as well as that year’s Indy 500. He never won the Monaco Grand Prix, but in a 2017 interview he said he considers the F1 championship, not Monaco, to be the third part of the Triple Crown. That was also an opinion reportedly shared by Hill, although it was academic since he had multiple Monaco victories and F1 championships on his resume.
Villeneuve said in the interview that he was referred to the Vanwall team by a friend, and was able to fill an open slot in the lineup. He’ll co-drive with Tom Dillmann and Esteban Guerrieri in the number 4 Vanwall Vandervell 1000, a rebranded version of the German ByKolles LMH car using the British Vanwall name made famous in 1950s F1 racing. The same group is also looking to use the Vanwall name for an electric hot hatch.
Villeneuve isn’t without Le Mans experience. His best finish was second place with Peugeot in 2008. His quest to better that begins with the WEC season opener, the 1000 Miles of Sebring, on March 17.
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