Raikkonen returns to NASCAR


2007 World Champion, Kimi Raikkonen will return to the NASCAR Cup Series at the Circuit of the Americas later this month at the wheel of Project91's Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.

The race will mark the Finn's second Cup Series race after debuting with Project91 at Watkins Glen last year.

Unlike the Watkins Glen track however, Raikkonen is familiar with COTA, having raced their eight times during his Formula One career. Indeed, his last F1 victory came at COTA in 2018, driving a Ferrari.

"I had a fantastic time in NASCAR," said Raikkonen. "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."

Trackhouse Racing – a division of Trackhouse Entertainment Group – fields the No. 99 and the No. 1 Chevrolets with drivers Daniel Suárez and Ross Chastain in the NASCAR Cup Series. Owner and Founder Justin Marks created Project91 last year intent on expanding the organization's global reach by fielding a Cup Series entry for renowned international racing drivers.

"When we announced Kimi last year I said he was the global superstar I had in mind when we created Project91," he said. "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."

Raikkonen will race the No. 91 Onx/iLOQ Chevrolet Camaro fielded by a Trackhouse crew led by 23-time wining crew chief Darian Grubb who won a Cup Series title with Tony Stewart in 2011.

Last summer, Raikkonen became the first Project driver, visiting the team's Concord, North Carolina race shop and testing with the team at Virginia International Raceway.

At the Watkins Glen race, he qualified 27th then raced in the top-10 most of the afternoon before a late race accident caused by another driver ended his day.

Marks said Raikkonen will again visit the shop in the days before the Austin event, but no test sessions are planned before the COTA race.

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

Raikkonen retired from Formula One in 2021 after competing with the Sauber, McLaren, Ferrari, Lotus and Alfa Romeo teams since he first entered the sport in 2001. He competed in the Xfinity and Truck Series races at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May 2011.

Now imagine him in the other Aston Martin.

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Published: 10/03/2023
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