Jacques Villeneuve has revealed he will fill in for the injured Greg Murphy at the next round of the V8 Supercars Championship.
In an interview with Australian newspaper 'The Daily Telegraph', the former Formula One champion confirmed he has been recruited to pilot the Kelly Racing run Pepsi Max Crew Commodore at next month's Sucrogen Townsville 400.
Although only a one-race deal at this stage, Villeneuve also hinted that it could be extended to include further races and declared he is open to offers to join the series full-time from next season.
Murphy has been ruled out of action for at least three months after undergoing surgery on his injured back and last week, Kelly Racing Development Series driver David Russell stepped in for the four-time Bathurst winner at the Skycity Triple Crown in Darwin. As expected though, it was to be a one-off arrangement, with Kelly Racing's CEO John Crennan declaring that there would be “â€¦a series of exciting announcements in the coming weeks for Murphy’s replacements.”
This will be the second time Villeneuve has driven a V8 Supercar, having competed in the Armor All Gold Coast 600 international event alongside Paul Dumbrell in the Rod Nash Racing Bottle-O entry in 2010. When asked about the drive, Villeneuve said he jumped at the chance.
“It was all a bit of a shock and has happened quickly but I had no hesitation,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
“It is a really last-minute thing but something that really excites me. We were contacted by the Kelly Racing Team and I said I was interested, for sure.
“I met a lot of the guys when I raced on the Gold Coast and made some good contacts. I really enjoy the series and enjoy challenges so in the last four days we have sorted a lot of things out to make it happen.”
Villeneuve also told the newspaper that he would have no hesitation in signing on for more races this season and would even consider a move to Australia.
“I certainly want to do more because this is a proper racing series,” Villeneuve said.
“I like the V8s because it is not a support series, it is the real thing; the main attraction. So yes, going to race in the series full-time is definitely something I would be interested in.
“The last few years I have been focused on NASCAR but I would certainly be interested in shifting that to V8s and at the moment I have nothing locked in for next year.”
Read the full Daily Telegraph article here