Kimi Raikkonen said his test drive in Trackhouse Racing’s Next Gen car this week was beneficial and he is certain that he is prepared for his NASCAR Cup debut.
Raikkonen, who left Formula 1 at the end of the last campaign, will make his racing comeback at Watkins Glen in a NASCAR Cup Series race courtesy to Trackhouse Racing, which has given the 2007 Formula 1 world champion control of its #91 entry.
The Finn had his second NASCAR experience after competing in the Xfinity Series once with Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2011 while on a break from Formula One.
To acquaint himself with a Next Gen Cup Series car, Raikkonen engaged in simulator work with the team and a track day last week at Virginia International Raceway.
“I don’t have anything to compare but I think it was nice to get some laps, even if it’s not exactly the same car that we’re going to race,” the 2007 F1 world champion said in a video published by Trackhouse Racing on YouTube.
“It was very beneficial just to put laps and have some fun, to know what the car is somewhat doing, do longer runs to find out so I’m sure it’ll be easier to go into practice come the race.”
“Obviously I have a little experience with the Cup car from 2011. This car is a new generation car, it’s a lot nicer, I guess more or less what I expected.”
“I tried the simulator so I had some idea, it’s OK, obviously the same things happen to it like a normal car, so when the tires get hot you’re sliding more… So far it’s been good.”
In order to ensure that Raikkonen enters the race in the Glen next week as well-prepared as possible, Trackhouse Racing has made it a priority to put him through a rigorous testing schedule.
“Maybe we did 50 laps or something… Without those and the simulator, for sure I’d be going straight into 20 minutes practice, and then qualifying, and that would be much more harder,” Kimi added. “At least we prepared as well as we could, so thanks to NASCAR letting us to have those laps, we did the best that we could and most that we can, so we’ll see what we get.”
“Obviously it’s a new track for me, so I need to learn it, so we’ll see what we have. The team has done a great job, really nice people all around, it’s been fun to be in the car.”
“I haven’t driven any race car since the last F1 race, so it was fun and hopefully we can get a somewhat good result in the race.”