Jenson Button says it is a “possibility” that he could get the chance to compete in a full NASCAR Cup series season in 2024 if his three guest appearances this year are successful.
The 2009 world champion will make his NASCAR debut at the Circuit of the Americas on Sunday 26th March. The former Williams, Renault, Honda, Brawn and McLaren F1 driver, who lives with his family in the United States, will race in the number 15 Rick Ware Racing Ford Mustang at three road course races, including NASCAR’s first ever street circuit round in Chicago in July and the Indianapolis road course event in August.
Button, who competed in Super GT in Japan after retiring from Formula 1 – becoming GT500 champion in 2018 – has never raced in a stock car before. He says he has long held a desire to race in NASCAR, stemming from having watched the Tom Cruise NASCAR film ‘Days of Thunder’ on Channel 4 as a child.
“For a very long time I’ve watched NASCAR – a couple of decades,” Button told media including RaceFans after his entry was announced.
“Growing up in the UK, we had four channels on TV back then, back in the late eighties, and we didn’t get any real sport outside of European sport. So it was actually Days of Thunder that first of all brought me to NASCAR, because it’s the first time I got to see any NASCAR.
“It’s so different to what I’m used to. And I think that’s probably what stopped me asking the question whether I’d be able to race in NASCAR, because it’s so different to anything I’ve driven before. And also back then it was more ovals – there weren’t really any street courses. So that didn’t excite me so much because it’s another skill set altogether. But now there are more road courses, it’s definitely more enticing and also I think I would be more competitive.”
Button competed in 17 seasons in Formula 1 between 2000 and 2016, starting 306 grands prix and winning 15 of them. After fellow F1 champions Jacques Villeneuve and Kimi Raikkonen both raced in NASCAR’s premier class in the Daytona 500 and at Watkins Glen, respectively, last year, Button says he is excited to explore the uniquely relaxed atmosphere of racing in NASCAR compared to Formula 1.
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“I don’t want to be negative about Formula 1, because it is an amazing sport – I’m an F1 world champ, so I spent most of my life there – but…
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