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Former F1 star Kimi Raikkonen swaps Formula 1 for NASCAR as Finn to drive for Trackhouse at Watkins Glen

KIMI Räikkönen returns with the Flying Finn set to swap F1 for NASCAR.

The Formula One legend, 42, retired from the sport last year after nineteen seasons and 350 races.

Kimi Raikkonen said goodbye to Formula 1 last year

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Kimi Raikkonen said goodbye to Formula 1 last yearCredit: EPA
The 2007 world champion is now hired for NASCAR

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The 2007 world champion is now hired for NASCARPhoto credit: Reuters
Raikkonen was a fan favorite during his F1 years

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Raikkonen was a fan favorite during his F1 yearsCredit: EPA

Finnish star Raikkonen has previous stock car experience and will drive for Trackhouse Racing’s NASCAR Cup Series team.

Owned by Justin Marks, Kimi becomes the first driver to be officially named the pilot of the new Project 91 car.

It’s been more than a decade since the Finn last drove stock cars, coming to the US in 2011 to compete in an Xfinity Series race and Truck Series event.

Marks had previously hinted that the #91 car was reserved for renowned racers looking to break their teeth in NASCAR.

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Raikkonen, known as Iceman, had 21 wins and 103 podiums during his F1 career, winning the 2007 World Championship.

It remains to be seen who Marks can lure into the cockpit later, but all eyes will be on Raikkonen when he leaves F1 later this year.

Marks stated, “Project 91’s mission is to activate the intersection of NASCAR racing and global motorsport culture.

“I truly believe the NexGen car represents an opportunity for NASCAR to enter the global professional motorsport conversation.

“We now have a race car with international technological relevance that allows world-class drivers from other disciplines to compete at NASCAR’s highest level without the steep learning curve that previous-generation cars required.

“With the creation of Project 91, Trackhouse opened the door to global champions while beginning the process of scaling into an internationally recognized racing brand.”

Raikkonen retired after the 2021 F1 season and has not raced in any form since.

But the opportunity to join NASCAR seemed too good to turn down.

He said: “Racing has always been beautiful. It doesn’t matter what it is, whether it’s F1 or other categories.

“Obviously F1 history is behind me and this [NASCAR] came up, and it made a lot of sense in a lot of ways.

“I think without the experience there and a couple of races, one in the truck and one in Nationwide, I probably wouldn’t be that interested.

“Obviously that was on an oval, that’s now on a street course.

“I’m looking forward to having good, close races and maybe at least a chance on the road, maybe doing something.”

Raikkonen is set to do his NASCAR bow at Watkins Glen on August 21.

Trackhouse Racing Team co-owner Justin Marks has lured Kimi across the Atlantic

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Trackhouse Racing Team co-owner Justin Marks has lured Kimi across the AtlanticPhoto credit: Getty Images – Getty

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/5427965/f1-kimi-raikkonen-nascar-trackhouse/ Former F1 star Kimi Raikkonen swaps Formula 1 for NASCAR as Finn to drive for Trackhouse at Watkins Glen

Aila Slisco

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