THE EX-JACQUES VILLENEUVE
1995 REYNARD 95I-FORD/COSWORTH XB
Chassis No. 004
Engine: turbocharged V-8, 2.65 liter, four overhead camshafts, 800bhp at 13,000rpm; Gearbox: longitudinal six-speed sequential; Suspension: four-wheel independent with wishbones and pushrods operating co-axial coil spring/shock absorber units; Brakes: four-wheel steel discs with carbon pads. Single seater.
This car was driven in ten races in 1995 by Jacques Villeneuve who won that year's CART/PPG Indy Car World Series Championship for Barry Green's Player's-sponsored team. Villeneuve scored two of his four victories that year in this car, chassis no.004, taking the checkered flag in the season-opening Miami street race and at Cleveland in July. He also won the Indy 500 and at Road America in 1995, but did so driving a sister car, chassis no.010.
Like all Reynard Indy or Champ cars from 1994-'98, the 95I was designed by Australian Malcolm Oastler, who is now the chief designer for the BAR/Reynard Formula One team. The 95I was a logically conservative development of the previous year's car, a method typical of both Oastler and Reynard. The car was very conventional in all ways, including a longitudinal gearbox rather than the transverse transmissions fitted to that year's Lola and Penske Indy cars. Nevertheless, the 95I proved to be very effective, winning a total of eight races that year with four different drivers and teams.
Team Green's 95I's were powered by Ford/Cosworth XB engines, similar to those used by Patrick Racing. The engine in this car is ready to run, save for the addition of a PI Electronic System. Run by team owner Barry Green, the team's chief mechanic was Kyle Moyer with Tony Cicale engineering Villeneuve's cars. Villeneuve was Green's only driver in 1995 and both cars were presented in the pale blue and white colors of primary sponsor Player's cigarettes.
Villeneuve of course, is the talented son of the late, great Gilles Villeneuve who drove for Ferrari in Formula One from the end of 1977 until 1982. Jacques started his career racing Formula Fords in Canada, then raced Formula Three cars in Italy and Japan before turning to Formula Atlantic cars with Green's team and Player's sponsorship in 1993. He moved into Indy cars with Green and Player's in 1994, scoring his first CART victory at Road America that year.
Jacques began his run to the 1995 CART title by winning the season-opener in this car and scored the last of his four wins that year at Cleveland in the same car. While he was wrapping-up the CART championship, Villeneuve and his manager Craig Pollock opened negotiations with Frank Williams for a Formula One seat with the Williams team in 1996. Subsequently he jumped to FI with Williams in '96, going on to win the 1997 World Championship with the team before switching to Pollock's new BAR team this year.