The 2009 Formulation 1 world champion is making his NASCAR debut this weekend aboard the #15 Rick Ware Racing Ford Mustang, with technical help from Stewart-Haas Racing.
In the one 50-minute observe session this weekend, he ran 13 complete laps and logged the twenty eighth quickest day trip of 39 entries. He was 1.770s slower than pace-setter Tyler Reddick’s 23XI Racing Toyota, however forward of 2007 F1 champion Kimi Raikkonen by 0.505s on the Finn’s second outing with the Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet. The Finn was thirty second total.
COTA is the primary of three deliberate Cup begins this 12 months for Button, who may also race on the Chicago Avenue Course on 2 July and on the Indianapolis Highway Course on 13 August.
Talking throughout a Friday press convention at Austin, the Briton defined that his steep studying curve started even earlier than exiting the Cup Collection storage.
“A little bit bit anxious however excited on the identical time,” the 15-time Grand Prix winner mentioned of his feelings.
“I forgot begin the automotive, which was attention-grabbing. In order that they pushed the automotive again, and I’m like ‘It gained’t begin.’ There have been just a few different switches I needed to put up. However then it was okay.”
Button defined that he was “stunned by how little grip there was initially after I pulled away and the tyres have been chilly” and mentioned he was nonetheless getting used to driving with a sequential gearbox for the primary time since his Formulation 3 days in 1999.
“I’ve by no means pulled again going by means of the gears and pushed to go down,” he mentioned. “It’s one thing fully new to be taught.
“I’ve pushed a guide gearbox, however you all the time go throughout the field. The final time I drove a gearbox like this was like in 1999.
“There’s quite a bit that you simply return into the financial institution of information you’ve realized through the years, and also you convey it out once more. It involves you fairly fast. I actually loved it.”
Jenson Button, Rick Ware Racing, Mobil 1 Ford Mustang
Photograph by: Jared East / NKP / Motorsport Images
Button additionally famous that it was a “soothing” expertise to have a spotter guiding him all through the session on a monitor the place he raced 5 instances in F1.
“I’ve by no means had spotters earlier than,” he mentioned.
“So, I’ve received guys in my ear the entire method round telling me there’s site visitors behind, there’s site visitors in entrance – it’s fairly soothing. I form of prefer it.
“Our spotters have very soothing voices, which I feel is nice and it’s particularly going to be good on Sunday when it’s manic on the market. That’s one thing else to be taught – having my mirrors, so I can see round me.
“However they inform me all of the enjoyable details about what’s occurring round me.”
He later added: “As I seen right here in observe, folks don’t transfer out of the way in which once they’re on a gradual lap and also you’re on a fast lap. There’s quite a bit to be taught.”
Button mentioned he was “having fun with the method” of adapting to studying to drive in NASCAR with extra weight and fewer downforce than he’s used to.
“Tomorrow in qualifying – when it actually counts to get a lap in – there’s a bit extra stress. We’ll see the way it goes.
“Set-up-wise, working with my guys, enhancing it. Yeah, we’re stepping into the correct path.”
Qualifying begins at 11:30 am native time. The sphere is cut up into two teams, with the 5 quickest from every advancing into the ultimate spherical the place they’ll battle for pole.
Button shall be a part of the primary group, which incorporates three former Cup Collection champions.