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Garage 56 Test at Daytona

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Former Formula One driver Jenson Button will be trying his hand at racing with fenders later this season.

Button, who won the 2009 F1 world drivers’ championship with the former Brawn GP F1 Team, says he will compete in NASCAR’s top level of competition in three road course events this season, including the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard in August.

Button has raced on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course before during his F1 days.

“Obviously, racing a Cup car is very different than what I’m used to,” Button said in a team press release. “It’s a lot heavier with a lot less power and, basically, no downforce. It’s got a sequential gearbox where you need to blip the throttle, so there’s lots of stuff to learn in a very short space of time.”

Button will make his NASCAR Cup Series debut at Circuit of the Americas later this month driving the #15-car for Rick Ware Racing in a partnership with Stewart-Hass Racing.

He admits there will be a learning curve, but that he is serious about being competitive.

“I just get excited about that new challenge, and when I throw myself into something, I am 100 percent in,” Button said. I’m not just doing it for fun in some one-off. I want to be competitive, and I know that to be competitive, it’s going to take a bit of time. That’s why doing these three races works very well this season.”

This will not be Button’s first foray into driving a Cup car. He has been heavily involved in NASCAR’s Garage 56 effort, which is preparing a Cup Series car to enter the 24 Hour of Le Mans.

Button is the latest in a handful of former F1 drivers to make the leap into NASCAR. Juan Pablo Montoya made the full-time jump from F1 to NASCAR in 2006. Kimi Raikkonen, 2007 F1 World Champion, debuted in the NASCAR Truck Series in 2011 and has made a couple of starts in the Cup season since then. 1997 World Champion Jacque Villeneuve tried his hand at the Daytona 500 last season.

Button won 15 races in his time in Formula One with four different teams. Since then Button has dabbled in different disciplines of racing, including Super GT, IMSA, and even iRacing.

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