Make That Two F1 Champs Racing At COTA: Jenson Button Will Make His NASCAR Debut Later This Month

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There will be a pair of Formula 1 World Champions in the field when the NASCAR Cup Series rolls into Circuit of the Americas later this month with news that 2009 champ Jenson Button will make his NASCAR debut.

Button will join fellow F1 champ Kimi Raikkonen in the field for the Cup Series’ first road race of the season when he hops in the No. 15 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for Rick Ware Racing.

But wait; there’s more!

The race at COTA is one of three races the Button will compete in this season. He’ll be in the No. 15 for the races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the street circuit in Chicago.

“Obviously, racing a Cup car is very different than what I’m used to,” Button said in a team press release. “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.”

Jenson Button
Jenson Button is part of the driver lineup for NASCAR’s Garage 56 entry at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Button Will Also Drive NASCAR’s Entry At Le Mans

This news comes a little over a month after Button was announced as one of three drivers for NASCAR’s Garage 56 entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans. He’ll join NASCAR great Jimmie Johnson and sports car standout Mike Rockenfeller in driving a slightly modified No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in the legendary endurance race.

Button had a stellar career in F1 racing for teams like Williams, Benneton/Renault, BAR, Honda, and McLaren. However, the high-water mark came in the form of his World Championship with Brawn GP in 2009 in the legendary BGP 001.

(Side note: if you don’t know that story, go look it up. It’s too long to get into now, but it’s interesting enough that Keanu Reaves is making a documentary about it.)

COTA is a great circuit for Button to get his feet wet because it’s one he knows well from his time in F1. The Englishman’s best finish at the circuit in F1 was P5 at the 2012 United States Grand Prix; the first one held at COTA.

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Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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