Formula 1’s 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen will make his debut in the United States’ premier stock racing category, the NASCAR Cup series, later this year.
Raikkonen, who called time on his F1 career at the end of last year, will drive the #91 Chevrolet in the ‘Go Bowling at The Glen’ Watkins Glen race on August 21.
Kimi Raikkonen. Watkins Glen. PROJECT91.
The Iceman returns. pic.twitter.com/4SSrQPjynQ
— PROJECT91 (@THProject91) May 26, 2022
The Finn’s debut will come as part of the new PROJECT91 venture by emergent Cup frontrunner Trackhouse Racing.
The team, which fields two full-time Cup entries, has pitched a part-time third car “for global champions” from other forms of motorsport.
“I truly believe the NexGen car [introduced this year] represents an opportunity for NASCAR to enter the global professional motorsport conversation,” said sometime Cup driver Justin Marks – who co-owns the Trackhouse team with rapper Pitbull – of the initiative.
“We now have a race vehicle with international technological relevance where world-class drivers from other disciplines can compete at NASCAR’s highest level without the steep learning curve that the previous generation cars required.”
The 42-year-old Raikkonen had made appearances in NASCAR’s lower-level series – the Nationwide Series (now Xfinity) and the Camping World Truck Series – back in 2011, pictured below, during his hiatus from F1.
In Trackhouse, he is partnering up with an outfit that, after buying the Ganassi Cup operation late last year, has emerged as a potent force in the championship amid the switch to its new regulations.
While the longer-serving Daniel Suarez is currently on the outskirts of qualifying for NASCAR’s 16-driver title playoffs, newcomer Ross Chastain is as high as fifth in the standings – having won a pair of races and run regularly up front, and with a playoff berth guaranteed.