Rallycross supercars are seriously quick machines. The power is north of 600bhp, the weight around 1300kg. Combine the two, send the power to the road via four-wheel-drive and stand back.

Or strap in very tightly, as I did yesterday just after former Formula One world champion Jacques Villeneuve was unveiled as one of the contenders for the new FIA World Rallycross Championship.

Previously a European-based category, the series, which has 40 years of history, is expanding this year. Under the stewardship of new promoters IMG, the 12-round calendar will include races in Canada, Argentina and Turkey for the first time.

Villeneuve can’t wait to perform in front of his home crowd in August but he is already up to speed in his Albatec Racing-run Peugeot 208 Supercar. He tested the car alongside team boss Andy Scott in France last week, and yesterday he offered passenger rides to a few journalists at a Dumfries industrial estate.

Tightly strapped in, the vibrations of the car passed through my body as Villeneuve rolled out of the pit area. The mechanical clangs and whistles reminded me that these cars are potent weapons and when Villeneuve put his foot down, we flew forward. The acceleration took my breath away and the ease with which rallycross Supercars reach 70mph and then 100mph is quite frankly astounding.