The rumors are true. Former Formula 1 champion Kimi Raikkonen will run a limited schedule in the Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2011. Raikkonen's debut is scheduled for May 20 in the N.C Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway as owner Kyle Busch's teammate.
Raikkonen's nine-year F1 career saw 18 wins, 62 podium finishes and the 2007 Drivers' Championship. Since leaving the sport in 2009, Raikkonen has campaigned in World Rally Championship with his own team ICE 1 Racing.
Raikkonen's debut for KBM will be the first step in what the champ hopes will be a successful transition from open-wheel and rallying to NASCAR, a switch that fellow F1 champ Juan Pablo Montoya made in 2007. Raikkonen's sponsorship deal hasn't been revealed yet, but will be announced before the start of the Charlotte race.
[Source: Kyle Busch Motorsports | Image: © Gepa Pictures/McKlein/Red Bull Content Pool]
Former F1 Champion Raikkonen to Drive Limited Schedule for KBM
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (April 2, 2011) – Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced today that they have signed former Formula 1 champion Kimi Raikkonen to drive a limited schedule in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series during the 2011 season. Raikkonen is scheduled to make his NASCAR debut as a teammate to owner Kyle Busch in the N.C. Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 20.
Raikkonen comes to NASCAR with a resume that includes the 2007 Formula 1 World Drivers' Championship. Over his nine year career in Formula 1, the Finnish driver registered 18 wins and 62 podium finishes. The 31-year old is currently competing for a World Rally Car Championship for his own team, ICE 1 Racing.
"We are honored that Kimi Raikkonen, a former Formula 1 World Drivers' Champion and proven winner, has chosen to start his career in NASCAR with Kyle Busch Motorsports," said Busch. "Adding one of the most talented drivers in the world is a continuation of building a team of proven winners and champions at KBM. I look forward to assisting in Kimi's transition to NASCAR as both an owner and teammate."
"I am really excited to have the opportunity to start my venture into NASCAR with Kyle Busch Motorsports," said Raikkonen. "Kyle is one of the best in NASCAR, and being able to draw on his knowledge will be a valuable asset as I make my transition to a new form of racing. He has put together an experienced team that builds fast race trucks. I look forward to being a part of a team that has proven to be a winner on and off the race track."
"We are extremely excited to have Kimi Raikkonen begin his transition to NASCAR behind the wheel of Kyle Busch Motorsports' Toyota Tundra's," said KBM General Manager Rick Ren. "As NASCAR looks to expand their fan base and generate further interest in certain demographics, having a former Formula 1 Champion with worldwide appeal is a huge deal not just for KBM but for the sport as a whole."
Details of sponsorship and a schedule of races that Raikkonen will compete in will be released at a later date.