Motorsport

Jacques Villeneuve: Racing career of a thrill seeker

Updated 1347 GMT (2147 HKT) January 21, 2016
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Jacques Villeneuve established himself as an international star by winning the 1997 Formula One world title ... Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images North America/Getty Images for NASCAR
... and the charismatic Canadian is still chasing new thrills and electric dreams in motorsport nearly 20 years later. Jason Smith/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
At the age of 44, the Canadian has a new challenge -- driving in the Formula E World Championship for electric cars. Formula E
Villeneuve, who drives for the Venturi team, is the first F1 world champion to race in Formula E. Handout/Getty Images South America
Jacques was born to race. His father is Ferrari driver Gilles Villeneuve, seen here putting his son at the controls of his car during a family visit to the F1 paddock in the 1979 season. Allsport/Getty Images/file
Gilles Villeneuve was one of the most popular racers of his generation. Although he won just six of his 67 races, his style and swagger made him a favorite with motorsport fans. He died following an accident at the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix. AFP/AFP/Getty Images/file
A teenage Jacques picked up his father's mantle and began racing. His first major success came on U.S. soil when, in 1995, he became the first Canadian to claim the Indy 500 after recovering from a mid-race penalty at the Brickyard. Steve Swope/Getty Images
Villeneuve went on to win the IndyCar title -- a triumph which propelled him into F1. He signed a two-year deal with Williams and won his first race in the fourth round of the 1996 season in Germany. Pascal Rondeau / Allsport/file
October 26, 1997: It's a date to remember for Villeneuve as he takes the checkered flag at the European Grand Prix in Jerez, Spain. His third-place finish was enough to win the drivers' championship with Williams in only his second season in F1. Mark Thompson /Allsport/file
During his 11 years in F1, Villeneuve won 11 races, recorded 23 podiums and claimed 13 pole positions. "F1 has to be out there, extreme, unattainable, stupid, crazy," he now says of the sport. Mike Cooper /Allsport/file
After quitting F1 in 2006, Villeneuve (seen here driving the No.22 car) joined NASCAR but the speed he honed in F1 often ended in crashes on the ovals. "I've never retired. I've always raced. I've always been a competitor at heart," he says. Jason Smith/Getty Images North America/Getty Images