NASCAR Cup Series
Former F1 champion Kimi Raikkonen returning to NASCAR at Circuit of the Americas
NASCAR Cup Series

Former F1 champion Kimi Raikkonen returning to NASCAR at Circuit of the Americas

Published Mar. 8, 2023 12:59 p.m. ET

Former Formula 1 champion Kimi Raikkonen left the door open for a return to the driver's seat after his NASCAR Cup Series debut last August at Watkins Glen.

He will make that return with the same team as he drives the Trackhouse Racing No. 91 Cup car at Circuit of the Americas on March 26.

Raikkonen, who was running well until he got caught up in an accident at Watkins Glen, at least has significant experience at the racetrack this time — he has competed at COTA in eight F1 races, including winning the 2018 race on the road course in Austin.

"I had a fantastic time in NASCAR," Raikkonen said. "There was a lot to learn in a very short amount of time, but everyone was very helpful, the competition was a big challenge.


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"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."

Trackhouse co-owner Justin Marks started the "Project91" car as a way to help get internationally known drivers into the Cup Series, which he hopes will expand the worldwide interest in NASCAR.

"I think you saw the fan reception across the world and Kimi's performance in the car was proof of the concept," Marks said. "Kimi's following is massive and it's great for NASCAR [and] Trackhouse plus I think Kimi really enjoys our racing."

The Finnish driver will bring sponsorship from technology company iLOQ and also have sponsorship from Trackhouse partner Onx, a home building and design company.

Raikkonen on his NASCAR debut

Former Formula 1 champion Kimi Raikkonen discusses his accident at Watkins Glen and what he enjoyed about his first Cup Series weekend.

Trackhouse director of performance Darian Grubb, a former Cup crew chief who won a title with Tony Stewart, will once again guide the Raikkonen effort. 

Under NASCAR's testing policy, Raikkonen will get no testing prior to going to COTA for the race weekend. He was allowed one test last year to learn the car but because only that one test is allowed.

"I'm sure there are a lot of drivers that would like to have a chance to try NASCAR," Raikkonen said. "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."

Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including the past 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrass, and sign up for the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass.

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