Villeneuve returns to the WEC with Vanwall Hypercar


Jacques Villeneuve will return to top-class endurance racing this season, the 1997 F1 world champion taking part in the 2023 WEC with the ByKolles Vanwall outfit.

Villeneuve tested the team's Hypercar racer in Barcelona last month along with Vanwall teammates Tom Dillman and Esteban Guerrieri.

But the line-up's participation in the championship was contingent on ByKolles obtaining an entry into the WEC, a privilege that was denied to the team last year.

This season however, ByKolles was granted an entry by the WEC for its Gibson V8-powered Vanwall Hypercar, a machine that will share the track with 12 other Hypercar competitors.


Villeneuve, 51, is therefore set to race at Le Mans next June for the first time since 2008, when he finished second in the endurance classic with Peugeot alongside teammate Marc Gené and Nicolas Minassian.

"The intention of Jacques is very clear: it’s a very high target, but the intention is to win Le Mans," said ByKolles team owner Colin Kolles last month in Barcelona.

"This was the purpose of the exercise, to see if he enjoys it. And then, further steps have to be discussed and a lot of testing has to be done.

"If you haven’t run in a downforce car for many years, you have to get used to it again."

Among the Hypercar category's other competitors, Toyota, Porsche-Penske, Ferrari-AF Corse and Peugeot will all run two-car teas, while Cadillac Racing, Jota, Proton, Glickenhaus and Vanwall will manage single-car entries.

The WEC's 2023 breakthrough season will kick off on March 17 at Sebring and unfold at Portimao, Spa-Francorchamps, Le Mans, Monza, Fuji and Bahrain.

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