Villeneuve tests rallycross car ahead of debut

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Jacques Villeneuve, Albatec Peugeot 208, Lydden Hill, 2014Jacques Villeneuve tested the Peugeot 208 he will race in this year’s FIA World Rallycross championship at Lydden Hill on Saturday.

The 42-year-old 1997 Formula One world champion will drive for Albatec in selected rounds of the new series this year. His turbocharged 208 boasts 600bhp and four-wheel-drive, and boasts F1-like performance in its acceleration to 60mph (96kph).


Villeneuve described Lydden Hill as “fast, a real fun track with quite high speeds”.

“It was great to finally drive on a proper FIA World Rallycross Championship track with a combination of asphalt and gravel,” he said. “It’s a nice circuit, it’s how tracks used to be made as it follows the lay of the land.”

Albatec team principal Andy Scott said it was vital to give Villeneuve maximum time to adjust to a world rallycross car.

“We chose Lydden Hill, the home of rallycross in the UK, as it is the perfect circuit for this, providing a good mixture of challenges, requiring very fast and precise lines and braking points.”

The inaugural World Rallycross Championship begins in Portugal in May. Lydden Hill will host the second round later than month.

The 12-round championship includes races in Canada and Argentina. The series will also visit Istanbul Park, which held F1 races between 2005 and 2011.

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11 comments on Villeneuve tests rallycross car ahead of debut

  1. Robbie (@robbie) said on 24th February 2014, 13:50

    Still got the need for speed. Way to go JV. Bet you’re gonna have a blast.

  2. This is actually the first time I’ve heard of the World Rallycross Championship.
    Saw Petter Solberg’s name on the entry list there and Rallycross events are always fun to watch so I might closely follow this series in 2014.

  3. HoHum (@hohum) said on 24th February 2014, 16:33

    Most of what I’ve seen of rallycross has involved very old rally cars and heavily modified old bangers bashing through mud, gravel and each other on a very short track, pretty amateur but very entertaining, well organised and promoted it could become very popular.

    • Steven (@steevkay) said on 24th February 2014, 19:56

      I think it was really popular in the UK for this reason, because you can take it as seriously as you like and cost of entry appears to be pretty reasonable. Top Gear did a segment on this, and I really wish we had more of that kind of culture in Canada.

      In any case, I did see some of the rounds last year; races are generally pretty exciting. It’s great for spectators, obviously not as serious as WRC, but watching these WRC-style machines racing wheel to wheel can get interesting.

      I’ll definitely be watching more often this year, hopefully JV can make a good impact.

  4. Lykkis (@lykkis) said on 24th February 2014, 16:59

    Do a youtube search for Martin Schanche, also known as Mr.Rallycross. He was a terrific driver in European Rallycross series. 6 time euro champion. He built his own cars, engines and transmissions.

  5. MtlRacer (@mtlracer) said on 24th February 2014, 22:53

    Doh! I completely misunderstood the first sentence and thought had JV had tested “somewhere” and the first official race was at Lydden Hill in a few days.
    The official website of the series:

  6. Tomsk (@tomsk) said on 25th February 2014, 7:59

    Sounds like the rallycrossing crooner has another announcement to make today, and he won’t be at the Lydden Hill round at the end of May…

  7. kpcart said on 25th February 2014, 15:50

    im surprised JV is getting the headlines he is getting with this switch to rallycross, whatever that is. he seems like a has-been driver since he got kicked out of f1 by Sauber and replaced by the faster driving Kubica in 2006. he seems to switch racing series every year since then, but this “rallycross” thing is really being publicised for some reason. oh well, and least it is giving the series some publicity (ie. I never knew the cars had 600hp until I read this article).

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 25th February 2014, 18:54

      Well this ‘has-been’ has the stuff on his resume that only 2 other drivers in the world can claim. Andretti, and Fittipaldi are the only other drivers who have won the Indy 500, the CART Championship, and an F1 Championship. He has switched racing series since he left F1 looking to fulfill that need for speed that he has, in a quality sustainable ride, but unfortunately has had to do that since the global recession hit and sponsorship has been harder to find. Something sustainable has not happened, perhaps until now. The reason we are hearing about Rallycross all of a sudden is not just because of JV entering the series, but because it is now an official FIA sanctioned Championship.

  8. Robbie (@robbie) said on 26th February 2014, 16:51

    Thrilled for JV’s return to Indy 500 too.

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