Former Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button has announced he will compete in three NASCAR Cup Series races this year, making his debut later this month at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA).
The 43-year-old will race the #15 Rick Ware Ford Mustang with support from Stewart-Haas Racing when he lines up at the Texas circuit on March 26, where he will be joined by a familiar face in fellow F1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen.
As well as the first road course race of the Cup Series at COTA, Button will also feature in the Chicago Street Course event on July 1, and at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course on August 13.
Button retired from F1 at the end of the 2016 season and has enjoyed the challenge of racing across other disciplines since.
“Obviously, racing a Cup car is very different than what I’m used to” Button said. “It’s a lot heavier with a lot less power and, basically, no downforce.
“It’s got a sequential gearbox where you need to blip the throttle, so there’s lots of stuff to learn in a very short space of time.
“But I just get excited about that new challenge, and when I throw myself into something, I am 100% in. I’m not just doing it for fun in some one-off.
“I want to be competitive, and I know that to be competitive, it’s going to take a bit of time. That’s why doing these three races works very well this season.”
Why Button retired from F1
Button stepped away from the sport at the end of 2016 after 17 seasons. He made a brief return in 2017, filling in for Fernando Alonso at the Monaco GP, but that would prove to be his 306th and final race in F1.
During that time, the Brit forged a reputation for being one of the quickest and most consistent drivers, often lauded for his ability to manage tyres and excel in the wet.
His desire to keep improving fuelled his fire, so when he lost that he knew it was time to hang up his helmet.
“The reason I was able to stay in Formula 1 for so long was because I always felt I was learning,” Button added.
“There was always something new in terms of technologies, or I could still improve my driving or engineering skills within Formula 1.
“When I got to my 17th year in F1, I felt like I lost that hunger a little bit because it wasn’t new anymore. There wasn’t something new to learn.”