Button considering full-time racing return for 2018

Button considering full-time racing return for 2018
Rachit Thukral
By: Rachit Thukral
Aug 24, 2017, 12:25 PM

Jenson Button has stated his intention to make a full-time return to racing next year, with Japan’s Super GT series emerging as one of the most likely avenues for the 2009 F1 world champion.

Jenson Button, #16 MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT
Jenson Button
Jenson Button
Jenson Button
Jenson Button
 Jenson Button, McLaren MCL32
Jenson Button, McLaren MCL32
Jenson Button, McLaren MCL32
Jenson Button, McLaren
Jenson Button, McLaren MCL32

Button stepped down from F1 at the end of last year, but remains on the books of McLaren, who has an option to bring him back from retirement should Fernando Alonso's contract not be renewed.

Since his retirement, Button subbed in for Alonso at the Monaco Grand Prix and will be taking part in this weekend's Suzuka 1000km, the flagship race on the Super GT calendar.

Ahead of his first sportscar outing, Button revealed that he's currently holding discussions for a full-season drive in 2018.

"I will be definitely doing something next year for a full season," the Englishman said. "Whether it's here or in America or somewhere else, I don't know yet.

"But the discussions are underway. We'll see how this weekend goes. If it goes well and if I enjoy the weekend, which I think I will, then maybe I could be racing here next year."

Downbeat about chances

Given how Lexus has dominated the Super GT season so far, Button remains downbeat about his own chances on his Suzuka 1000km debut.

The 37-year-old also feels that his Mugen-Honda squad stands in a disadvantageous position to the outfits running the superior Bridgestone tyres.

"In terms of this weekend, in terms of where I can finish I really don't know," he said. "It's the longest race of the year in Super GT. In this type of racing you have a tyre war, with four different tyre manufacturers.

"At the moment the most competitive tyre is not the tyre that we use, it's been the Bridgestone. We just got to use the facts and stats from the last few races. It makes the race a little bit hard for us.

"But hopefully with the higher temperatures our Yokohamas will work better than in the last few races, we could be a bit more competitive.

"It's not going to be an easy race but we will do all we can and make sure everything we do is perfect. If we do that, we've done the best we can, then the result will hopefully be there."

Super GT machines "feel like a Formula 1 car"

Super GT's GT500 cars are the fastest grand touring cars in the world, with performance similar to privateer LMP1 machines at comparable tracks.

Having tested the Honda NSX-GT several times in recent months, Button found it to be as quick on corners as a Formula 1 car.

"The cars are great to drive. They are fast, here's a lot of downforce and you can carry a lot of speed through the corners," he said.

"Through the corners, it feels like a Formula 1 car, which is pretty spectacular. And also you have the GT300 cars to overtake. It's another added challenge for me, something that's new to me.

"So lots of new things this weekend. Lots to learn. But I've always looked forward to a new challenge." 

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About this article

Series Super GT
Drivers Jenson Button Shop Now
Author Rachit Thukral