RWR, SHR partner to field Jenson Button in 3 NASCAR Cup races
Jenson Button will make his NASCAR Cup Series debut March 26 at Circuit of the Americas in what will be his first of three Cup starts this season.
Button will drive Rick Ware Racing’s No. 15 Ford with support from Mobil 1 and Stewart-Haas Racing.
“Obviously, racing a Cup car is very different than what I’m used to. 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 want to be competitive,” Button said.
The 2009 Formula One world champion will also race July 2 at the Chicago street course and Aug. 13 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
Stewart-Haas Racing leveraged the deal through shared partner Mobil 1 and the organization’s partnership with RWR.
“It’s always a challenge to try a new racing discipline, and Jenson has been doing that his entire career. Those F1 cars evolve every year, and Jenson always found a way to adapt. When he got out of F1, he jumped into sports cars and won another championship. He’s even done off-road. There’s very little that he hasn’t experienced in a racecar. He’s new to NASCAR, but he’s not new to racing. This is going to be fun for all of us, and we’re very appreciative of Mobil 1 for making it happen,” SHR co-owner Tony Stewart said.
Stewart and Button even appeared together in a 2013 Mobil 1 ad, remembered by fans for the three-time Cup champion’s love of soda cookies.
Button earned 15 grand prix victories in 306 F1 starts. He raced at COTA five times and the Indianapolis road course seven times in his F1 career.
Since retiring from F1 in 2017, he has raced the Japanese Super GT Series’ GT500 class and won the 2018 championship there.
Button also did a 5-race stint in the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship, which included the 24 Hours of LeMans. He also raced the Baja 1000 and Mint 400 off-road endurance races in 2019.
His foray into NASCAR competition comes as he will also race a Gen 7 car in the June 10-11 24 Hours of LeMans.
Button, Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller will pilot the NASCAR Garage 56 entry that the world champion has tested at Sebring, Daytona and COTA.
“The first time I jumped into the Garage 56 car, it was like, ‘What have I done? This is so different,’ and that lasted about four laps. Then it was like, ‘Hang on, it’s still a racecar. It’s got four tires that touch the road. It’s a mechanical racecar, which is even better for learning.’ I’ve really enjoyed the challenge,” he said. “A Cup car has a lot less downforce and is a lot heavier, but the Garage 56 car has given me an idea of what it will be like along with a direction, which is really useful.”
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