Kurt Busch plans to compete in Gulf 12 Hours alongside Jorge Lorenzo
NASCAR star Kurt Busch’s next challenge could come this December in the Gulf 12 Hours – possibly alongside MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo in a GT car.
The NASCAR champion, who has dabbled in IndyCar and dragsters, now has his eyes set on sports cars — but more importantly the Yas Marina Circuit, site of the Formula 1 finale.
Following his trip to Baku for the European Grand Prix, Busch jetted to Abu Dhabi where he tested a F3000 car at the Yas Marina on Tuesday. Last year’s podium in the Gulf 12 Hours featured a Ferrari 458, Mercedes SLS and an Aston Martin Vantage. But Busch’s objective was to simply get a feel for the circuit.
“It would be like a Pirelli World Challenge Series-type car,” Busch said. “They’ve been doing the 12 Hours the last few years. I got turned onto it by Monster Energy about the possibility of going and racing alongside Jorge Lorenzo from MotoGP and perhaps another Monster Energy athlete.
“So to help with the transition, if I was to go run that race, to have track laps so I somewhat know the circuit and don’t go in there as blind as I would if I just raced the race in December…It was a blast to run the big circuit and get some laps in case I run the 12-hour race.”
Getting behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car
Ultimately, Busch would love the opportunity to run in F1 — although the 37-year-old driver understands the obstacles are many. As with any position, it helps to know somebody. And Busch does. His NASCAR boss Gene Haas entered the F1 arena this season with Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez.
Busch is following the same pattern he did with the NHRA — which was completely foreign to him prior to attending drag racing school and getting up to speed.
“You get a feel for a track and you get a feel for a car, then I went to the Gator Nationals with my own car in the Sportsman’s division,” Busch said. “Then I looked around to figure out how to put together a pro ride in a Pro Stock.
“Somewhat doing the same tooling to get used to the track in case I do a different style of car in a different race. But Formula 1 rides just don’t appear. You just don’t go and buy one. There’s only two per car owner. It’s a very different world to have an opportunity to run one let alone race it.”
For now, Busch is taking baby steps. While driving an F1 car might just be a dream, Busch isn’t ready to surrender just yet. The driver who is currently second in the NASCAR standings — and will start fourth for the Toyota/SaveMart 350 on Sunday at Sonoma — finished on the podium in his second Rolex 24 start and sixth in his Indianapolis 500 debut. Having the opportunity to test a F1 car would be a bonus.
“If there was a chance, it would be of course with Gene, possibly Barcelona or when this car is retired that they have for 2016 and it comes to North Carolina and there’s a fun day where we can go to Austin (Circuit of the Americas),” Busch said. “It would be just a bucket list-type item.
“At 37-years-old, you can’t teach an old dog a new trick doing F1. But it’s always fun to dream.”
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