Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 Formula 1 world champion and one of Grand Prix racing's great drivers of the last 20 years, will make his NASCAR Cup Series debut for Trackhouse Racing at Watkins Glen International in August. Raikkonen was announced Thursday as the first international racing star who will take part in.
He will drive Trackhouse's No. 91 Chevrolet with Darian Grubb, the 2011 Cup Series champion crew chief and a 23-time race winner, leading the team. The team plans to bring Raikkonen to their Concord, North Carolina race shop in order to prepare for the effort.
Known as "The Iceman," Raikkonen is one of Formula 1's most prolific drivers and also one of Finland's greatest racers. In a career that lasted from 2001 to 2021, Raikkonen earned 21 Grand Prix victories, set the all-time record for F1 starts with 349 and won the 2007 world championship.
After retiring from F1 at the end of the 2021 season, the 42-year-old driver had not looked to race again, but was lured to NASCAR by Trackhouse Racing owner Justin Marks.
"I wasn't looking to race again, but Justin came to my home in Switzerland and convinced me how serious he was about putting together a top-notch program," Raikkonen said in a press release. "This will be fun, but it's something I will take very seriously. I know how competitive the NASCAR Cup Series is and it will be a big challenge."
While Watkins Glen will mark Raikkonen's Cup Series debut, it will not be his first attempt at racing in NASCAR. In 2011, Raikkonen made a pair of one-off starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Raikkonen finished 15th in Trucks and 27th in Xfinity.
In a team statement, Justin Marks said that Raikkonen's entry at Watkins Glen will be the only planned race for PROJECT91 in 2022. However, the team expects to expand the program in 2023 with additional drivers from across international motorsports.