Jacques Villeneuve to compete in Legends Trophy virtual race

Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images

Jacques Villeneuve has competed in nearly every discipline of auto racing.

In addition to winning the 1995 Indianapolis 500 and 1997 Formula One World Championship, the 49-year-old Canadian also has tried his hand at NASCAR, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Formula E, and SuperCars.

But this Saturday, he will try something completely new.

Villeneuve is the latest driver to join the virtual Legends Trophy virtual racing series, an eSports league for former racers 40 and older.

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Villeneuve becomes the third champion on the starting grid, joining Emerson Fittipaldi and Jenson Button. Other drivers competing in the event include Indy 500 winners Juan Pablo Montoya, Dario Franchitti, Helio Castroneves, Gil de Ferran, and Tony Kanaan.

Franchitti won the Legends Trophy opener two weeks ago at UK’s Silverstone National Circuit and Barichello and Jan Magnussen were victorious in last weekend’s doubleheader at New Orleans’ NOLA Motorsports Park.

This weekend’s race will take place at the Sebring International Raceway virtual track. After Sebring, the Legends Trophy will compete at Nürburgring and Portland International Raceway, respectively.

The Legends Trophy serves as a prelude to The Race All-Star Esports Battle, which will feature a mix of pro sim racers and professional racing drivers. The field includes F1’s Max Verstappen, IndyCar’s Felix Rosenqvist, Colton Herta and Pato O’Ward, and 2017 World’s Fastest Gamer champion Rudy van Buren.

It is owned and operated by Torque esports, a Toronto-based gaming and esports company with operations in North America and Europe. The company’s core business segments include gaming content productions, data, esports events, and content production and hardware.

Race one of Saturday’s doubleheader begins at 12 pm E.T. while race two begins at 2 p.m. E.T (ESPN2, The Race’s YouTube Channel).

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
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The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:

Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change