Jeff Gordon may not be done driving racecars after all
"I don't think he's through driving," said his manager, Zak Brown, whose firm, Just Marketing, Inc., has represented Gordon for years. JMI is the largest motorsports marketing agency in the world, matching sponsors with race teams and series. Four of the last five major Formula One deals were brokered by JMI. Brown (no relation to musician Zac Brown, who JMI's Brown insists "spells 'Zak' all wrong!") and his company only represent one active driver – Gordon – though they also represent former F1 champions Sir Jackie Stewart and Niki Lauda.
Brown is a former professional racecar driver who only last year stepped away from the cockpit of the United Autosports team he co-owns, which races primarily in Europe and Asia, though he still competes in vintage races. And he suspects that while Jeff Gordon may indeed be done with driving in NASCAR, he isn't done with racing, most likely in sports cars. Gordon has repeatedly proven his expertise in NASCAR road races at tracks like Watkins Glen in New York and Sonoma Raceway in California.
"If you look at champions like Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen, who left Formula One, took a breather, then came back to racing, I think that Jeff will take 12 or 24 months, and then when the right opportunity comes along, he'll be back," Brown told Autoblog.
Endurance races such as the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona or the Twelve Hours of Sebring could be attractive, "and Jeff has shown a lot of interest in Le Mans. I'd be surprised if we never see him again behind the wheel of a race car." Indeed, Brown and JMI have, since the outset, been working toward planning Gordon's career after he steps down as a full-time driver. "When he brought us on, it was for post-racing," Brown said. "That was his goal, and the reason we started so early was to get projects started.
"It's never been about finding room on the sleeve of his uniform for more logos. He wants to take his Rolodex and all his relationships and win championships off the track. He's very interested in international opportunities, and that's what he likes about JMI's Rolodex. So we'll be increasing our efforts with him." Gordon joins Fox Sports as a broadcast analyst for Fox's NASCAR coverage starting in 2016.
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