1997 F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve has now inked a deal to switch to America’s Nascar series next year — but there’s a catch.
The Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail said the 35-year-old’s contract with Roush Racing is contingent on him finding no less than about $18m in sponsorship funding.
“Once the money is in Roush’s hands, the plan has (Villeneuve) starting his Nascar career with Roush’s Craftsman Truck Series outfit in 2007 and graduating to the Busch Series later in the season,” the report of the Toronto-based publication said earlier this month.
When he might make the final step into the premier Nextel Cup, meanwhile, is “unknown”, Globe and Mail added.
Villeneuve, the winner of 11 grands prix, left the BMW-Sauber team after crashing out of July’s German grand prix. His full-time replacement for 2007 is Polish rookie Robert Kubica.
If Villeneuve’s Nascar foray comes to fruition, he would be the second big F1 name to cross the Atlantic in recent months. Juan Pablo Montoya, who won seven races in a six year F1 career, switched to Chip Ganassi’s Nascar squad in 2006.