1997 F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve will make his NASCAR return next month, competing in the second-tier Nationwide Series for the crack Penske outfit.

Former Williams, BAR and Sauber man Villeneuve has made sporadic appearances in both the Nationwide and top-level Sprint Cup championships in recent years, predominantly running road course events. That will be the case again this season, as JV runs at the iconic Road America track (June 25th) and his home race in Montreal (August 20th). The French-Canadian took his best NASCAR result to date at the circuit named in honour of his late father, grabbing a podium there in last year’s Nationwide event.

Photo: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR

“I am really looking forward to joining Penske and getting the chance to race at two of my favorite tracks with the series championship team. We should be very competitive in both of these events,” Villeneuve said of the deal

The 40-year-old admitted last year that his F1 career is over, having failed in a bid to launch his own team for the 2011 campaign. Villeneuve, who started 164 races between 1996 and 2006, took 11 grand prix wins and claimed the 1997 title after a thrilling final race showdown with Michael Schumacher at Jerez.