The Porsche Race That Starred Both Formula 1 Champion Jacques Villeneuve And A Swedish Prince
The Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia might not seem the most obvious place to look for star drivers. But in its most recent round it very much achieved this lofty status, as not only was 1997 Formula 1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve among those competing, so was Prince Carl Philip of Sweden! Both competed in guest drives in the Kanonloppet—meaning ‘The Cannon Race’—Carrera Cup round which took place at the Gelleråsen Arena in Sweden, around 235km west of capital Stockholm, on August 17 and 18.
It was Villeneuve’s second appearance in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup-only championship this year, having also taken part in the Ring Knutstorp season-opener in May wherein he finished fifth in the meeting’s second race. His latest appearance was announced at the last minute, on the Friday before the meeting, and it continues the 1995 Indycar champion and Indy 500 winner’s nomadic time in motorsport across recent years, having also appeared in the NASCAR Euro Series, the Americas Rallycross Championship, Stock Cars in Brazil and Formula E.
Prince Carl Philip is the only son of the king and queen of Sweden and fourth in line to the throne. He also is a regular racer, having also sampled the Carrera Cup, Scandinavian Touring Car Championship and Porsche’s GT3 Cup Scandinavia, which he won the GT Endurance part of in 2010. The Kanonloppet was the Prince’s only competitive outing of the year, though unlike Villeneuve his appearance had been announced some months in advance.
“We are proud of the drivers who decide to compete in our guest cars in Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia,” said Porsche Sweden director Raine Wermelin. Reigning British Formula 3 champion Linus Lundqvist as well as Hampus Ericsson, British F3 competitor and younger brother of ex-F1 and current-IndyCar driver Marcus, have also guested in the championship this year.
Villeneuve at the Gelleråsen Arena raced in car #97 in homage to his F1 title year while Prince Carl Philip, appropriately to the car, raced with #911. Both faced challenging conditions at the start of the weekend with pre-race testing taking place in dry conditions then rain arriving for the qualifying session. Despite their unfamiliar cars and uncertain grip levels, Villeneuve managed to qualify 11th of 22 competitors for both races with Prince Carl Philip earning a starting slot five places further back.
Their races however were less straightforward. Prince Carl Philip got involved in a multi-car incident in race one, the damage from which–including his right-hand door going missing—forced him to retire. Villeneuve also got caught up in an incident in that first race, being tapped into a spin, and was classified 16th after mistakenly pitting on the final lap, thinking the race was over! The Prince had more frustration in the second race, as he finished last after getting a time penalty following close contact with a competitor. Villeneuve however had a happier time, finishing an impressive eighth.
Images courtesy of Porsche