Durango Corse have announced they will supplement their GP2 Asia programme this winter by entering the Speedcar Series with former Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve at the helm.
The Canadian, who hasn't raced full-time since he left Formula 1 in 2006, has tried his hand at sportscar and stock racing recently, but while he enjoyed a brief foray in NASCAR and Speedcar, his success has been limited.
Nonetheless, the 1997 F1 World Champion will line-up on the first Speedcar grid of the season at Dubai with GP2 race winners Durango, who will enter two cars this season to celebrate their 25th anniversary since being formed.
For team manager Ivone Pinton, the decision to take on Speedcar and lure an exceptional driving talent marks the start of a year of celebration for the team.
“2009 for Durango will be the 25th anniversary. It is an important achievement which we will start to celebrate having, for the first time, a Formula 1 world champion as official driver.
“There will be other special initiatives which will be unveiled during the next months. For me personally, for Enrico Magro, and for all our boys this means the sum of all our passion. And we all are seriously intentioned to get on like this for the next twentyfive years at least”.
Durango will also enter a second car for 22-year-old Austrian driver Christopher Zoechling, an occasional racer in the Formula Atlantic series.
The inaugural Speedcar Series, which was won by ex-F1 driver Johnny Herbert, enjoyed moderate success in 2007/8. Although it attracted somewhat modest grid numbers, a formidable number of ex-F1 drivers made at least one appearance, including Herbert, Villeneuve, Jean Alesi, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Pedro Lamy, Christian Danner, Gianni Morbidelli, Alex Yoong and Ukyo Katayama.