Albatec Racing says it is seeking to sign a 'star driver' for the British round of the World Rallycross Championship following news that it will release Jacques Villeneuve from his contract for the event at Lydden Hill.
The former F1 racer will miss the second round of the campaign after confirmation that he will return to the Indy 500
with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports – some 19 years after his victory back in 1995.
The clash of dates between Indianapolis and Lydden Hill means Villeneuve will head straight for the USA following the opening round of the World Rallycross season in Portugal, before then returning to action in his Peugeot 208 Supercar at round three of the campaign in Norway in June.
“Naturally we're disappointed that Jacques will miss our home event, however what driver in the world would or could turn down the opportunity to race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” Albatec boss Andy Scott said. “He's a racer through and through, and returning to tackle the Indy 500 is simply too good a chance for him to miss. We knew this was a possibility as he'd already expressed an interest in doing that one event, so I'm pleased he gets the chance to go for the double win.
“It's all credit to Jacques that he's considered as a potential Indy 500 winner and we all wish Jacques, Sam Schmidt and the entire Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team the very best for the weekend. Jacques will return to rallycross action in the third round of World RX at Norway, hopefully as the new Indy 500 Champion, while we have been in discussion with several other star drivers to take over his car at Lydden Hill.”
Villeneuve meanwhile said he was thankful to the team for allowing him the chance to head back to the USA for the event.
“Of course I'm disappointed not to be racing at Lydden Hill, the team's home event, particularly after such a great test at the circuit on Saturday,” he said. “However I've always wanted to do the Indy 500 one more time and this offer is just too good to turn down.
“After the test in Kent, it really fired me up for the FIA World Rallycross Championship, and I remain committed to giving my very best to the team and the Championship, starting at the opening round in Portugal. However I'm a racer, with a passion for racing, and the Indy 500 is without question the biggest event on the motorsport calendar.
“Not many drivers get the chance to drive on that track, and for me it's a personal challenge, with a first and second there already, I need to finish in the top two to keep up the average!”