Kimi returns: Trackhouse brings back Raikkonen for COTA

WATKINS GLEN, NEW YORK - AUGUST 21: Kimi Raikkonen, driver of the #91 Recogni Chevrolet, enters the track prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Go Bowling at The Glen at Watkins Glen International on August 21, 2022 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Kimi Raikkonen will be racing for Trackhouse once again. This time however, he will be returning to much more familiar surroundings.

The team announced Wednesday that the former F1 champion will once again race the PROJECT91 car. Raikkonen raced for the team at Watkins Glen last summer, his NASCAR Cup debut and it was his first time racing on that track. He started the day 27th but was swept up in a crash late in the going.

Later this month he will be racing for the team at COTA, a track he raced on in Formula 1 eight times and won in 2018.

“When we announced Kimi last year, I said he was the global superstar I had in mind when we created PROJECT91,” team owner Justin Marks said. “I think you saw the fan reception across the world and Kimi’s performance in the car was proof of the concept. Kimi’s following is massive and it’s great for NASCAR, Trackhouse plus I think Kimi really enjoys our racing.”

The effort will be led by crew chief Darian Grubb.

Marks said Raikkonen will again visit the shop in the days before the Austin, Texas event, but no test sessions are planned before the COTA race.

“I’m sure there are a lot of drivers that would like to have a chance to try NASCAR,” said Raikkonen. “It’s not very easy, so maybe it will open some doors in the future for more chances to try and get more Europeans into the sport.”

Raikkonen competed in the Xfinity and Truck Series races at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May 2011.

“I had a fantastic time in NASCAR,” said Raikkonen. “There was a lot to learn in a very short amount of time, but everyone was very helpful, the competition was a big challenge. This time I get to race on a track I am familiar with so there won’t be as steep of a learning curve. I want to have fun, but also do as well as we can.”

Greg Engle