Right here’s Why Kimi Raikkonen’s NASCAR Run Will Carry Massive-Title Drivers to the US


NASCAR is not precisely secluded to america anymore. It’s miles from having the attain of Formulation 1, however due to the Subsequent Gen automobiles and worldwide race winners, inventory automobile racing is considered in a extra trendy gentle than ever. That is doubtless a part of what’s drawn retired F1 champion Kimi Raikkonen to make his Cup Collection debut subsequent week. Importantly, this additionally kickstarts Trackhouse Racing’s Venture 91 initiative which goals to carry extra big-name drivers from exterior the U.S. to NASCAR.

Justin Marks, proprietor of Trackhouse Racing, introduced his plans for Venture 91 again in Might. He knew that he’d be utilizing the staff’s third constitution, the No. 91 Chevy Camaro, not less than as soon as this season to showcase worldwide expertise. Raikkonen is a pure choose seeing as he is raced in NASCAR earlier than, simply not within the Cup Collection.

“Venture 91’s mission is to activate the intersection level of NASCAR racing and world motorsport tradition,” Marks stated. “I really imagine the Subsequent Gen automobile represents a possibility for NASCAR to enter the worldwide skilled motorsport dialog. We now have a race automobile with worldwide technological relevance the place world-class drivers from different disciplines can compete at NASCAR’s highest stage with out the steep studying curve that the earlier technology automobiles required.”

He continued, “Car developments utilized in different types of motorsports, comparable to diffusers, unbiased rear suspension, the sequential gearbox, and different extra widespread elements, have resulted in a platform a lot much less reliant on intimate proprietary inventory automobile data, which has traditionally made any transition to NASCAR tough.”

Raikkonen will race the street course at Watkins Glen on Aug. 21. As you would possibly’ve already seen, he is been turning laps this week at Virginia Worldwide Raceway to organize. Marks advised Racer that he is been persistently impressed by the 42-year-old, and Raikkonen is already adapting to the automobile.

“From a pace and preparation and data standpoint, I feel he’s going to be proper on par,” Marks stated. “I feel the place the problem goes to be is ensuring he understands the race from a procedural standpoint—that he understands the foundations and all that.”

To make sure, NASCAR is loads totally different than F1, which is the place Raikkonen raced simply final yr. He notched 21 wins over the course of his 19-season grand prix profession with one drivers’ title in 2007. This provides a sure stage of credibility to Trackhouse’s program and certainly NASCAR as a complete, which means we might see different world champions moonlight in a Chevy Camaro quickly.

There’s just one extra common season race after Watkins Glen, so there is probably not one other Project91 entry in 2022. Even then, there’s at all times subsequent yr, which is after we’re slated to see a Subsequent Gen Cup automobile tackle the 24 Hours of Le Mans. That effort is a collaboration between NASCAR, Chevy, and Hendrick Motorsports, however do not be shocked if it has one other European star ringing Marks’ line on the finish of the day.

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