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Saturday, July 13, 2024

F1 world champion Raikkonen to contest NASCAR Cup race at COTA

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In saying Challenge 91 final yr, Trackhouse co-owner Justin Marks mentioned its intentions have been to area “world class” drivers from different racing disciplines to compete within the highest degree of NASCAR.

The 2007 F1 champion was the programme’s first driver, debuting final yr on the 21 August Cup race at Watkins Glen Worldwide.

The Finn ran as excessive as eighth throughout a spherical of pit stops till he crashed out late following a late-race restart, injuring his wrist after a collision despatched his automobile in a tire barrier.

“I had a incredible time in NASCAR,” mentioned Raikkonen. “There was loads to study in a really quick period of time, however everybody was very useful, the competitors was an enormous problem.

“This time I get to race on a monitor I’m conversant in so there gained’t be as steep of a studying curve. I wish to have enjoyable, but in addition do in addition to we will.”

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Not like the Watkins Glen monitor, Raikkonen is conversant in COTA, racing on the highway course eight instances throughout his System 1 profession.

The final of Raikkonen’s 21 F1 victories got here at COTA in 2018 with Ferrari.

Kimi Raikkonen, TrackHouse Racing, Recogni Chevrolet Camaro

Photograph by: Matthew T. Thacker / NKP / Motorsport Images

Raikkonen will race the #91 Onx/iLOQ Chevrolet Camaro at COTA fielded by a Trackhouse crew led by 23-time wining crew chief Darian Grubb, who gained a Cup Sequence title with Tony Stewart in 2011.

“Once we introduced Kimi final yr I mentioned he was the worldwide celebrity I had in thoughts after we created Challenge 91. I believe you noticed the fan reception internationally and Kimi’s efficiency within the automobile was proof of the idea,” Marks mentioned.

“Kimi’s following is huge and it’s nice for NASCAR, Trackhouse plus I believe Kimi actually enjoys our racing.”

Marks mentioned Raikkonen will once more go to the store within the days earlier than the Austin, Texas occasion, however no check periods are deliberate earlier than the COTA race.

“I’m certain there are a variety of drivers that wish to have an opportunity to strive NASCAR,” mentioned Raikkonen.

“It’s not very simple, so possibly it’s going to open some doorways sooner or later for extra probabilities to attempt to get extra Europeans into the game.”

The Finn retired from F1 in 2021 after competing with the Sauber, McLaren, Ferrari and Lotus groups since he began in 2001. His spotlight got here in 2007 when he gained the title with Ferrari.

He additionally competed within the Xfinity and Truck Sequence races at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Could 2011.

Trackhouse already fields two full-time Cup Sequence groups with drivers Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez.

Marks mentioned that NASCAR’s elevated schedule of highway course races permits him to supply drives to high-profile European stars, as their transition to the Subsequent Gen automobile – which debuted final season – wouldn’t be as troublesome getting ready for an oval occasion.



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