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Villeneuve 'enquires' about Red Bull buy-out

Reports this week have linked former F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve to a buy-out of the assets of the Red Bull Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup team, but details are sketchy.
Reports surfaced in the US this week suggesting that Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 F1 world champion, has enquired about the possibility of buying out assets of Red Bull Racing.

The Red Bull drinks company previously announced that it was pulling the plug on its NASCAR Cup team at the end of the current season, and so far no buyer of the team or its assets has been identified.

On Tuesday, NASCAR reporter Bob Pockress reported on SceneDaily.com that occasional NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series driver as well as former CART and Indianapolis 500 champion Villeneuve had made an enquiry about the team and its assets.

The report said that Villeneuve's business manager had confirmed the rumour but had not said whether the talks were productive or substantive. Another US-based website, auto123.com, also reported that it had contacted Vlleneuve's manager Rick Gorne and that he had not denied the reports.

"There have been discussions with Red Bull but that is all it has been, discussion," auto123.com reported Gorne as telling them. "We are currently evaluating other opportunities in NASCAR for Jacques also."

It's unlikely that Villeneuve has anything like the personal resources to pour into a hugely costly Sprint Cup operation, and unknown as to what investors he might be able to line up to back any expression of interest. The current team management is likely seeking a deal that will keep the team intact and continuing to field two cars, whereas Villeneuve would likely be looking at setting up a one-car operation at first that would see him out on track for a significant proportion of the season, possibly sharing the seat with another driver.

Currently the team's two drivers are Brian Vickers and Kasey Kahne. Kahne is due to leave and join Hendrick Motorsports after this season, replacing Mark Martin who is tipped to move on to Stewart/Haas to share the team's new third car that will be fielding Danica Patrick in select Cup races.

Vickers, on the other hand, is unsure about where or whether he will be racing in NASCAR next season. In the meantime he has been active in lining up potential buyers to present to the current team owner Dietrich Mateschitz and manager Jay Frye as they seek to sell-off the team.

"I've put them in touch with some great buyers, and they haven't done anything with it so I'm not sure what they're up to," said Vickers with a hint of exasperation about the situation, which has dragged on for longer than Frye initially indicated was likely. "Nothing has really changed there. To my knowledge, they're still looking to sell the team."

Vickers - who has two career wins in Cup-level competition - made his NASCAR début in Nationwide in a car owned by his father, Clyde Vickers, but Brian said that "My dad has no interest in owning a Cup team ... I can put that [speculation] to a stop right now."

It all leaves Vickers looking for a 2012 ride in a market with increasingly limited openings. In the meantime, he'll just concentrate on doing his best out on the track. "My job and the job of this team is to go out and win the race," he said. "If we do that, that's the best thing we can do for all of our situations."



Related Pictures

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Jacques Villeneuve, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Dodge, poses after qualifying on the pole position for the NASCAR Nationwide Series NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Aug. 19 in Montreal, Canada. [Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images]
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, races to an eighth place finish with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS who finished in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet SS, stops in his pit on his way to a fifth place finish Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Elliott takes over the #24 car from retired driver Jeff Gordon.  (Photo by Ashley R Dickerson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, races to a fourth place finish Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevy Racing)
Brian Vickers, driver of the #14 Janssen Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation Chevrolet SS, finishes in seventh place, Sunday April 3, 2016, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, VA (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Chevrolet SS, finishes in fourth place, Sunday April 3, 2016, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, VA (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #14 Target Chevrolet SS, finishes in third place, Sunday April 3, 2016, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, VA (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Kroger/Butterfinger/Coffeemate Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place, Sunday April 3, 2016, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, VA (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet, leads Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 2, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, races to his 77th career victory, Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Garry Eller for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career win with a victory lap and checkered flag, Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Garry Eller for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career victory Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Gregg Ellman for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career victory with a wave of the chequered flag Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career victory, Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career victory, Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s / Superman Chevrolet, celebrates after taking the chequered flag during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #2 Rheem Chevrolet, and Ty Dillon, driver of the #3 Bulwark/PAR Electric Chevrolet, talk during practice for the NASCAR Xfinity Series TreatMyClot.com 300 at Auto Club Speedway on March 18, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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