On Thursday, Kimi Raikkonen drove around Virginia International Raceway to take his first test of a NASCAR Next Gen car.
Kimi Raikkonen got familiar with a NASCAR Next Gen vehicle at the Virginia International Raceway on Thursday before making his Cup Series debut at Watkins Glen next weekend.
The Cup Series race at Watkins Glen will be the 2007 Formula 1 World Champion’s debut appearance in NASCAR’s top division. He will compete with Trackhouse Racing. In his two years away from Formula 1 in 2010 and 2011, Raikkonen has participated in NASCAR’s truck and grand national series.
Raikkonen will also compete against Mike Rockenfeller, the winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours, and former F1 driver Danill Kvyat, who will be competing in their first NASCAR event.
The most seasoned racer in the history of the sport is currently the Finnish driver, who has a lengthy career as a Formula 1 driver. In that time, he won 21 grand prix races, and in 2007 with Ferrari, he won the World Championship.
At the conclusion of the 2021 season, Raikkonen made the decision to leave Formula One, after spending the final three seasons of his career with Alfa Romeo.
Next weekend, when he makes his debut in the NASCAR Cup Series, the 42-year-old will be back behind the wheel. Despite having prior NASCAR experience, Raikkonen’s previous starts with Kyle Busch Motorsports were in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series.
Raikkonen will be representing Trackhouse Racing in this round.He won’t be the only former Formula 1 driver competing in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2022 as Daniil Kvyat competed for Team Hezeberg at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier this year.
“I’m optimistic I have high expectations… I think that the speed and the race craft and adaptation to the track and the car is not going to be an issue at all,” Trackhouse Racing owner Justin Marks said.
“Just spending time with him in the shop, the way he was prepared when he first showed up here in America not just 24 hours ago he was asking questions about pit penalty at Michigan, he had questions about short pitting stages and how to work strategy backward at the road courses.
“He has really done a lot of work and preparation, and that’s not surprising to me because that’s what it takes to be as successful as he’s been in Formula 1 for so long.”
On August 21 at 5:00 ET, Raikkonen will compete in his first race, which has the official name of the Go Bowling at The Glen.