Villeneuve parted company with the Venturi Formula E team recently, after failing to score points in each of the season’s first three rounds. The Quebec native was replaced by Brit Mike Conway, who finished 15th in an 18-car Buenos Aires field.
Wingnut Racing will reportedly field a K1 Speed-sponsored Nissan GT-R for Villeneuve in the Pirelli World Challenge Series, as well as six unspecified NXS events.
Villeneuve has not commented on the new deal. At the time of his parting from the Venturi Formula E operation, he told Motorsports.com, “"I did not leave to switch to another series. I have no other plans at the moment, (but) the current situation will allow me to work on other projects. I am a race car driver and my objective is to race."
Alsco Director of Sales and Marketing Jim Divers confirmed Villeneuve’s new plan, however, saying, “We will partner with Wingnut for one race in the 2016 XFINITY Series as a primary sponsor and will be an associate partner with them for an additional five races this year. Jacques Villeneuve is a proven winner in motorsports and we look forward to being with him in Victory Lane.”
The Montreal native has not competed in NASCAR since finishing 41st in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Sprint Cup Series race at Sonoma in June of 2013 for car owner James Finch. The previous year, he made a pair of XFINITY Series starts in Team Penske’s potent No. 22 Dodge, finishing sixth at Road America and third in Montreal on the circuit named for his late father, Gilles.
In 20 career NASCAR National Series starts, Villeneuve has often drawn the ire of his fellow racers for overaggressive driving. After being unceremoniously dumping by Villeneuve at Road America in 2012, Danica Patrick spoke for many in the NASCAR garage when she said, “it's hard to have a lot of respect for somebody like that. I respect what he's done in his career, but the way he treats other drivers on the track, I can't.”
Clint Bowyer once called Villeneuve, "a train wreck. An extremely fast train (that) usually ends up derailed.”
It will be interesting to see what kind of reception Villeneuve receives, if and when he makes an appearance in the NASCAR garage