F1 News

Kobayashi to make debut in NASCAR: 'Happy with this opportunity'

Kobayashi to make debut in NASCAR: 'Happy with this opportunity'

7 June - 13:24 Last update: 14:12

Former Formula 1 driver Kamui Kobayashi will debut in the NASCAR Cup Series later this year, becoming only the second Japanese driver to race at the highest level in US stock car racing. The Japanese driver said he is happy with this opportunity.

The 36-year-old driver raced for three years with Toyota's F1 team before the team dropped out of the championship, after which he raced for the brand in the World Endurance Championship, where he still races now.

"I was lucky as I was able to race in IMSA the last couple of years. It’s a different way of racing, but I think as racing technology, it’s really at a high level. I really appreciate this opportunity from Toyota Racing Development USA, and of course, Toyota Motor North America and Toyota Gazoo Racing," said the driver.

Kobayashi goes after Button and Raikkonen

Formula 1 drivers moving to NASCAR after their careers in the king class of motorsport is not unusual. Several other ex-F1 drivers have already driven in NASCAR this year. Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen both raced at Circuit of the Americas in March and return in races later in the season.

Button will also drive a NASCAR Chevrolet Camaro in the 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend, while Kobayashi will go for overall victory in one of Toyota's hypercars. Japanese Toyota is yet to confirm when Kobayashi will get a chance to test his NASCAR car before making his debut.