Ex-F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve will drive the Pepsi Max Crew Kelly Racing V8 Supercar at the Townsville round with regular incumbent Greg Murphy remaining on the sidelines due to an injury.

It’s not the first time Villeneuve, the 1997 F1 champion for the Williams-Renault team, has drive a V8 Supercar. He has previously taken part in the Surfers Paradise round of the championship which features international guest drivers, although without much success. This will be the first time Villeneuve pilots a car in a regular round of the V8 Supercar Championship and the first time the series has featured an ex-F1 champion under its new name. It will also be the first time the Canadian gets behind the wheel of a Holden.

David Malone, chief executive of the V8 Supercars has heralded the arrival of one of F1’s last real wild drivers. He told the SMH, “Jacques is a 24 Hours of Le Mans win away from being only the second man in history to win the coveted Triple Crown of motorsports – the Indianapolis 500, the Formula One Championship, and the Le Mans endurance event. He is the kind of driver who is always looking to push himself. It’s in his blood.”

Villeneuve is currently driving part-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series as well as European Porsche Supercup rounds but the Townsville race managed to fit in between current commitments. Villeneuve has been linked with a full-time seat in the series before, with Supercheap Auto close to signing him at the start of the 2011 season. That deal never came through but Villeneuve has always been quite vocal on joining.

The deal is currently only for one race and it’s unknown if Villeneuve will get another crack in other rounds.

Image: Wikimedia Commons