Former Formulation 1 driver Kamui Kobayashi will debut within the NASCAR Cup Collection later this yr, changing into solely the second Japanese driver to race within the high stage of American inventory automobile racing.
Kobayashi will enter NASCAR’s race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway street course on thirteenth August in a Toyota Camry run by 23XI Racing.
The 36-year-old has spent over 10 years of his profession as a manufacturing unit Toyota driver, together with three years in its F1 crew earlier than it exited the championship, after which he raced for the model within the World Endurance Championship the place he nonetheless races at the moment.
His F1 profession included one podium on dwelling floor, whereas he has gained 13 races and two titles within the WEC, gained IMSA’s Daytona 24 Hours race twice, gained in Tremendous GT and claimed seven podiums in Tremendous Formulation.
“I believe NASCAR is form of like baseball,” mentioned Kobayashi. “It’s one thing completely different within the tradition of motorsports in comparison with Japan and Europe, and it’s NASCAR, and as a driver, it’s an American dream.
“I used to be fortunate as I used to be in a position to race in [America’s top sports car series] IMSA the final couple of years. It’s a unique means of racing, however I believe as racing expertise, it’s actually at a excessive stage. I actually respect this chance from Toyota Racing Improvement USA, and naturally, Toyota Motor North America and Toyota Gazoo Racing.
Kobayashi is a part of Toyota’s WEC squad“For us, particularly the Japanese folks, Toyota has been in NASCAR for some time, and I don’t suppose another Japanese driver has been in a Toyota racing within the Cup Collection. I’m very pleased with this chance.”
Japan’s first top-level NASCAR racer Hideo Fukuyama made all 4 of his begins throughout 2002-03 in a Ford.
A number of different ex-F1 drivers have already competed in NASCAR this yr. Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen each raced at Circuit of the Americas in March and can return at later rounds.
Button can also be driving a Chevrolet Camaro from NASCAR on this weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hours race, whereas Kobayashi goes for general victory in considered one of Toyota’s hypercars. Toyota is but to verify when Kobayashi may have the possibility to check his NASCAR earlier than making his debut.
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