Earlier today, Schmidt Peterson Motosports co-owners Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson announced that the team will field an Indianapolis 500 entry for 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve. An edited selection of key quotes from the announcement is presented below.
JACQUES VILLENEUVE, on his motivation to return to open-wheel racing: “I’d been watching the IndyCars last year, and it looked extremely exciting with the new cars, to the point where I was angry and jealous that I wasn’t racing.
“I started getting excited again just because the racing was amazing, the cars looked fast and aggressive, it looked hard on the drivers, and the battles were fierce, which is all what I love about racing.
“I wasn’t considering going back to something I’d already done mostly because there’s been a few dark years for IndyCar. But the whole group behind the series have been working really hard and done a tremendous job because it’s getting back to the glory days with the races exciting, and also the field of drivers is becoming more and more impressive every year again.”
On wanting to show his children what he can do: “I don’t want to be for my kids just the guy that used to race that they can see in books. I want them to see and live what I’ve already lived, to see it through my doing it actively. It’s actually a positive effect to have kids.”
SAM SCHMIDT, on the significance of signing Villeneuve for the 500: “We’ve got some pretty good stuff up here starting the IndyCar team full-time in 2011, having the pole at Indy, having success in 2012 with Simon, finishing fifth, winning two races last year, finishing third in the championship, and now this. It’s really a representation of the guys and how hard they’ve been working, how the program has really come along quite nicely. I think having somebody of Jacques’ caliber is an incredible statement and we’re really looking forward to it.”
RIC PETERSON on signing a fellow countryman to the team: “It’s very special. I watched Jacques’s career from Toyota Atlantics to Formula One, was always a fan myself. We actually have a few other Canadian employees on our team and they’re also very excited about having Jacques — as is the whole team, but the Canadians have a little extra excitement about it.”