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Formula 1 and Indy Series champion Jacques Villeneuve will drive his father Gilles’s 1979 Ferrari 312 T4 Formula 1 car at the Fiorano test track on May 8 in tribute to the 30th anniversary of his father’s death.
In 1982, Formula 1 witnessed the talents of the Canadian race car driver. Regarded as the fastest ever to compete in Formula 1 by fans and fellow drivers, Villeneuve’s short career with Scuderia Ferrari was highlighted by six grand prix victories as well as a remarkably ferocious wheel-to-wheel battle for second versus Renee Arnoux during the closing stages of the 1979 French Grand Prix, all of which earned him a legendary status while driving a series of dangerous and ill-handling Ferraris.
Back in 1997, Germany’s Michael Schumacher was the man to beat in Formula 1. At the last race of the season, he was in a title battle with Canadian Jacques Villeneuve. The winner of the race would take the driver’s championship.
Villeneuve in his Williams-Renault was on pole, but Schumacher’s Ferrari got the better start and took the lead by the first corner. However, as the race progressed, Villeneuve started clawing back at Schumacher, and then on lap 48, took the inside line at the Dry Sack corner to take the lead. In an attempt to take out his opponent, Schumacher turned in and hit Villeneuve’s car. However, the hit proved more lethal to Schumacher, as he had to retire from suspension damage. Villeneuve’s car was damaged, he nursed the car for the next 22 laps and finished the race in third position, enough to give him the F1 Driver’s Championship.
For his actions, Schumacher was stripped off his second place in the driver’s championship by the FIA. So now while the Ferrari camp mourned, the Williams-Renault F1 team and its sponsors rejoiced and celebrated their victory in the hands of a Canadian hero.
One of their sponsors, cigarette giant Rothman’s wanted to give Villeneuve a very special present, and they did so with the car you see on this page. It is a 1997 Dodge Viper R/T10 Roadster, which has been modified by the American tuning specialists Hennessey. The end result is called a Viper Venom 600, the last digits denoting the horsepower figure it produces.
This car is capable of sprinting from 0-60 mph in a claimed 3.3 seconds, and onto a top speed of 205 mph. Perfect daily commuter for an F1 champ then.
Now this one-off special can be yours, as it has been listed for sale. This car has covered 23,000 miles, and while it did suffer mild damage at one point in its life, it has all been repaired properly since.
This car is located in U.K. at the moment, but the seller does mention that World-wide export is available, and the asking price is only $63,300. That might be a lot for a 1997 Viper, but considering it is a Hennessey and one that has a World Champion as its first owner, it might be the ultimate collector piece for an F1 fan.
Now professional race car driver’s are gearing up for a serious reality event. It was announced earlier this year, that the last race on the IZOD IndyCar Series will present a new twist. Any racing driver who is not currently racing full-time in the IndyCar series, can win $5-million if they finish the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on October 16, in first place.
This has caused a bit of a frenzy, as professional racing driver’s from NASCAR, Formula-One, FIA Rallying and even Supercross are trying to take part in this lottery event.
IndyCar series boss Randy Bernard said that only five spots will be available, and drivers like Jacques Villeneuve (1997 F1 World Champion), A.J. Allmendinger (NASCAR), Petter Solberg (FIA Rallying) and James Stewart (Supercross) are just among the few who are hoping to take part in this event. According to Bernard, 15 drivers have shown interest so far.
Who will get the five race seats remain to be seen, but it looks like the series ending race will be a spectacle worth watching.
Former Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve will return to the sport next year as a team owner. Villeneuve announced his plans recently, confirming rumors that funding for the project would come from Italian based Durango – which is owned by the son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Villeneuve’s plans aren’t set in stone, however, with the FIA only recently accepting applications for a 13th team. No announcement of what that team will be has been made.
Villeneuve does seem to represent a solid team, however, with serious backing and reported ties to ousted Renault team captain Flavio Briatore.
Since his departure from F1, Villeneuve has been competing in several different motorsports series and will race at the Brickyard 400 NASCAR race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25th.
Jacques Villeneuve, the Canadian Formula 1 world champion and Indianapolis 500 winner, is headed back to NASCAR for the famous Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis.
Villeneuve will be returning with the Braun Racing team, which campaigns Toyotas in NASCAR. Villeneuve has had a series of infrequent NASCAR drives, as his road course skills are highly sought after during NASCAR’s rare road course races. He finished in 25th in his last start at the Watkins Glen road course. This event will be on an oval track, a far more typical layout for the series.
[Source: The Globe And Mail]