Kimi Raikkonen will be racing in the upcoming NASCAR Cup Series event at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin in Trackhouse Racing’s PROJECT91 car, the team has announced.
The 2007 Formula 1 World Champion will be heading back to the scene of his 21st and final victory in the series in different machinery this time around, as he is set to take the wheel of the #91 Chevrolet Camaro as he returns to the NASCAR grid after a Cup Series outing last season at Watkins Glen, again with Trackhouse Racing.
The surroundings in Austin will be much more familiar to him this time around however, as the Iceman prepares to take on the challenge of racing in the NASCAR event on 26 March, having also taken part in one-off Xfinity and Truck Series races back in 2011, while he was on sabbatical from Formula 1.
Raikkonen had little time to prepare for his outing at Watkins Glen last year but he still managed to qualify 27th on the 39-car grid, even climbing his way into the top 10 during the race before he had to unfortunately retire after contact with Loris Hezemans.
The former Formula 1 favourite is ready for another race in the States this time around though, and he hopes his appearance will help bring more European involvement in the series moving forward.
“I had a fantastic time in NASCAR,” the former Ferrari, McLaren and Lotus driver said upon the announcement.
“There was a lot to learn in a very short amount of time, but everyone was very helpful, the competition was a big challenge. This time I get to race on a track I am familiar with so there won’t be as steep of a learning curve. I want to have fun, but also do as well as we can.
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“I’m sure there are a lot of drivers that would like to have a chance to try NASCAR. It’s not very easy, so maybe it will open some doors in the future for more chances to try and get more Europeans into the sport.”
Trackhouse Racing owner Justin Marks added: “When we announced Kimi last year I said he was the global superstar I had in mind when we created PROJECT91.
“I think you saw the fan reception across the world and Kimi’s performance in the car was proof of the concept. Kimi’s following is massive and it’s great for NASCAR, Trackhouse plus I think Kimi really enjoys our racing.”