After retiring from F1 in 2016, 2009 champion Jenson Button will again put on his racing suit to participate in one of Japan’s longest running races, the Suzuka 1,000, as part of the Japanese Super GT championship.
Jenson will drive a Honda NSX-GT race car at the 46th International Suzuka 1,000km race, and will join Japanese racers Hideki Mutoh and Daisuke Nakajima to form part of Team Mugen – Honda’s Japanese tuning arm. Team Mugen will no doubt be looking forward to Button’s arrival, having not won a race since September 2015.
“After driving an NSX CONCEPT-GT at Honda Racing THANKS DAY last December, I became interested in racing in SUPER GT.” said Button.
“I spoke with Honda and they have given me the chance to race at the Suzuka 1000km. As an F1 driver and a member of TEAM MUGEN, I will push to win. I am very much looking forward to racing in front of my Japanese fans again.”
The Suzuka 1,000 is Jenson Button’s second foray out of retirement so far in 2017 – he took over for the McLaren team and friend Fernando Alonso in the Monaco Grand Prix, who had a prior commitment participating in the Indianapolis 500 in the US.
“Jenson is an extremely talented and experienced driver, and we hope he will have a great race. Hideki Mutoh, Daisuke Nakajima, and Jenson Button is an exciting and formidable driver line-up and we are confident Team Mugen will be able to show its best performance at the final ever Suzuka 1000km,” added Nagataka Tezuka, Team Mugen director.
Button is no stranger to Honda, having spent the majority of his F1 career driving for the Japanese maker’s former team. He has owned a number of different Honda models as part of his automotive collection, including an S660 roadster and various NSX models. He is also said to be instrumental in bringing Honda back into partnership with McLaren for its F1 team.
The new NSX-GT was revealed in late 2016, and in-line with the Super GT regulations, trades the production NSX‘s 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 and hybrid drivetrain combination for a 2.0-litre turbo four. It puts its power through a six-speed sequential gearbox, weighs a minimum of 1,020kg and is rear-wheel drive. The NSX-GT competes with main rivals Nissan with their GT-R Nismo GT500 and Lexus’ new LC GT500.
The 46th International Suzuka 1,000km race will be held on August 27th, 2017.