Kimi eyes Sprint Cup
Former World Champion Kimi Raikkonen is following in the footsteps of fellow Formula 1 drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Jacques Villeneuve by trying to break into the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Raikkonen, who left F1 for the World Rally Championship after the 2009 season, has signed up for a selected programme of events in the Camping World-sponsored Truck Series. He will race a Toyota Tundra in three to five Truck events, starting at Charlotte on May 20, alongside his WRC programme in a factory-run Citroen.
The car will be fielded by Kyle Busch Motorsports under the banner of Ice 1 Racing, which Raikkonen is also using for his WRC campaign in 2011. He got his first taste of the car on the half-mile Gresham Motorsports Park oval at the start of April, completing 400 laps over the course of two days of private testing.
The Finn has yet to speak publicly about moving up the NASCAR ladder but talked about the deal as “the start of my venture into NASCAR”. He described the test at Gresham as “a lot of fun”. Raikkonen wouldn’t be the first driver to compete in F1 and at the highest level in rallying and NASCAR: occasional F1 driver Vic Elford, a Monte Carlo Rally winner before the advent of the WRC, made four premier NASCAR starts in 1969-72; and double F1 world champion Jim Clark made a one-off stock car appearance at Rockingham in 1967, the year after his starring performance on the RAC Rally at the wheel of a Lotus Cortina.