Jacques Villeneuve is about to take his first step towards a new career in the world of NASCAR racing. The 1997 world champion, who lost his BMW-Sauber seat last year, is scheduled to test a Toyota pick-up truck in Chicago on Monday for the team Bill Davis Racing, according to American media.

Featuring modified pickups, the Craftsman Truck Series is regarded as the lowest category of NASCAR racing, beneath the Busch and Nextel Cup divisions.

"Bill Davis Racing was aware of my interest in NASCAR and approached my management team with a view to allowing me to test within its truck program," French-Canadian Villeneuve, who is 36, said. He began his premier motor racing career on American ovals, soaring to the Indy and Indy 500 titles in the mid-90s.

Villeneuve's manager Craig Pollock said Jacques wants to ease his way in to the NASCAR world through trucks. Last year Juan Pablo Montoya also switched from F1 to NASCAR but began at the higher Busch level. The Colombian now drives in the premier Nextel Cup category.