Ex-Formula 1 driver Jenson Button will make his NASCAR Cup Series debut at Austin later this month, where his opposition will include ex-F1 rival Kimi Raikkonen.
Button, the 2009 F1 champion, will drive a Rick Ware Racing Ford with support from Stewart-Haas Racing at three Cup rounds – Circuit of the Americas (March 26), the new Chicago street course (July 2) and the Indianapolis road course (August 13).
It’s a second 2023 NASCAR-related project for Button, as he’s also driving the modified Chevrolet NASCAR run by Hendrick Motorsports in the Le Mans 24 Hours as this year’s Garage56 entry alongside Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.
He has already tested that car, and his deal with Ware won’t be all about Le Mans preparation as the Chicago and Indianapolis Cup races happen after the 24 Hours.
The NASCAR deal continues the varied theme of Button’s post-F1 career, which has already encompassed a Super GT title win in Japan, a World Endurance Championship stint with the SMP LMP1 project, plus appearances in British GT, Extreme E (both with his own teams) and Nitro Rallycross.
The #15 Cup entry has significant history in NASCAR and has won races in the hands of Dale Earnhardt, Bobby Allison, Buddy Baker and Clint Bowyer.
Raikkonen is making his second appearance in the Cup Series, with the Trackhouse Racing Project91 team. He will race against Button for the first time since the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix when Button made a one-off F1 return to stand in for Fernando Alonso at McLaren while Alonso contested the Indianapolis 500.