Racing fans will already be familiar with Villeneuve's accomplishments, long ago as they may have been. He was named Rookie of the Year in the IndyCar series in 1994, then won both the title and the Indianapolis 500 the following season. He then moved over to F1 to drive for Williams, winning four grands prix on his debut season and coming in second in the championship.
JV won the world championship the next year in 1999, but despite spending nine more years on the grid with an array of teams, he never managed to regain his winning form. He's since tried his hand at everything from NASCAR to Rallycross, and notably came in second place overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans driving for Peugeot – putting him within spitting distance of winning the elusive (and unofficial) Triple Crown of Motorsports.
While Villeneuve will be the first Formula One World Champion to compete in Formula E, he won't be the first former F1 driver on the grid. Other notables have included Nelson Piquet Jr, Takuma Sato, Scott Speed, and Jarno Trulli.
In a related development, Jean-Eric Vergne is set to return to the grid for next season. Rather than continue with the Andretti team, however, he'll be heading to the Virgin team that's now being backed by Peugeot SA's DS brand. The seat he's taking was filled by Jaime Alguersuari, who will be sitting out next season with his license suspended due to a still-unresolved medical condition that saw him faint at the end of the Moscow ePrix. Both Vergne and Alguersuari drove for Scuderia Toro Rosso in F1.