Trackhouse Entertainment Group promised to bring the biggest international stars in the world into its PROJECT91 concept in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Team owner Justin Marks announced Thursday that Kimi Raikkonen, the all-time leader in Formula One starts (349) and the 2007 F1 World Champion, will pilot the No. 91 Chevrolet Camaro at Watkins Glen International (Aug. 21, 3 p.m. ET on USA Network).
Raikkonen is the first of what Marks hopes is many world-renowned stars to utilize his No. 91 Chevrolet for a foray into NASCAR.
“I‘m really excited to launch this year with Kimi Raikkonen,” Marks told NASCAR.com. “Obviously, the 2007 F1 World Champion and the most experienced F1 driver in history, he‘ll really kind of help set this program off. I‘m looking forward to it. I‘m bullish in our ability to be able to track the global stars of motorsport and do something really special under the Trackhouse brand with PROJECT91.”
Raikkonen actually has two NASCAR starts to his name — one in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and one in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, both in 2011 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
His F1 career spanned from 2001-09, and then from 2012-21. His title in 2007 came with Scuderia Ferrari, which is the last driver championship for the iconic constructor. Raikkonen won six races that year, including the final two to outpace both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso by a single point in the final standings.
“I think that he‘s going to perform really, really well,” Marks said. “The program is going to be first class. He‘s going to have a real opportunity to go out there and compete. This isn‘t just a PR stunt. The passion I have is fueled by the vision of someone coming in and winning.”
Marks said Raikkonen’s entry at Watkins Glen is the only PROJECT91 race planned for 2022 but expects more races in 2023 with additional drivers.
“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 team 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.”