2009 Formula 1 champ Jenson Button to drive in three NASCAR races in 2023
Button will be the fourth Formula 1 champion to race at NASCAR's top level
Jenson Button will make his NASCAR debut at Circuit of the Americas.
The 2009 Formula 1 champion will race three races in 2023 in the No. 15 car. Button will race on March 26 at COTA, July 2 at the Chicago street circuit and Aug. 13 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
Button, 43, has driven at both COTA and the IMS road course as a Formula 1 driver. He’ll be sponsored by Mobil 1 in his NASCAR efforts.
“Obviously, racing a Cup car is very different than what I’m used to," Button said in a statement. "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 percent 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.”
While Button will be driving for Rick Ware Racing, he’ll be in Stewart-Haas Racing cars. SHR has a sponsorship deal with Mobil 1 and is a much better team than RWR. But thanks to NASCAR’s four-car rule, SHR can’t field a fifth entry for Button.
Button’s NASCAR debut comes as he’s one of the three drivers set to compete in the 24 hours of Le Mans in NASCAR’s Garage 56 entry. Button will race in the iconic race with Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.
Button will also be the third F1 champion to go on to race at NASCAR’s top level when he drives at COTA. Jacques Villeneuve and Kimi Raikkonen have previously raced in NASCAR after winning F1 titles and Raikkonen is also set to compete in the race at COTA. Mario Andretti is the only driver to win the Daytona 500 and a Formula 1 title but he won the 500 11 years before he became an F1 champion.