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Jenson Button plans full-time racing return in 2024

Jenson Button says he’s ready to make a return to full-time racing next year for the first time since 2019.

#24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 of Jenson Button

Buoyed by his efforts behind the wheel of NASCAR’s Garage 56 Le Mans 24 Hours Chevrolet Camaro, and a part-time road and street course schedule in NASCAR Cup with Rick Ware Racing's Ford Mustang, Button revealed that he’s now ready to commit to a full-time programme next year for the first time since his Super GT season in 2019.

Since then, the 2009 Formula 1 world champion’s racing exploits have been sporadic across British GT, Goodwood Revival, Nitro Rallycross and Extreme E cameos.

Speaking ahead of next weekend’s NASCAR Cup Chicago Street Race, Button revealed that he was targeting either a return to the World Endurance Championship or a maiden campaign in the IMSA SportsCar Championship.

Button ran four races in the top class of the WEC in 2018 in SMP Racing’s BR Engineering LMP1 car, which included an overall podium finish at Shanghai.

“I didn’t think that I’d want to do a full season again, because of how busy the schedule always is, but I feel that I’ll be racing in something next year doing the full season,” said Button.

“It’s great doing one-off races but you don’t get the best out of yourself, and that’s why doing three races here in Cup is really good, because I get to spend more time with the team and in the simulator and really get to work with my engineer, my crew chief to develop the skills between us and to develop an understanding.

“So, yes, I want to do a full season next year, time permitting. I need to balance a few things as I’ve been very busy this year. It will be endurance racing, which will be either IMSA or WEC.”

When asked by Autosport if he’d been keen on racing in IMSA’s GTP class, Button replied: “Yeah, I would. Who knows what could happen in the future, whether it’s WEC, IMSA or some more NASCAR races in the future. But I’ll definitely be leaning on Jim [France] a little for that.”

#24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 of Jimmie Johnson, Mike Rockenfeller, Jenson Button

#24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 of Jimmie Johnson, Mike Rockenfeller, Jenson Button

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Button says time spent with NASCAR president and Grand-Am founder France (Grand-Am is now merged with IMSA, while France retains a keen interest and owns the Action Express Cadillac team) has created a bond between them, thanks to the huge interest that the Garage 56 project brought to NASCAR.

Button added: “Big thanks to Jim and Rick [Hendrick, the NASCAR powerhouse team owner] for giving me the opportunity to race at Le Mans with them.

“Jim is very passionate obviously about NASCAR but he was also very passionate about bringing NASCAR to the endurance world. He was at most of our tests, and to see the smile on his face and excitement every time the car passed it really showed how passionate he is about his racing.

“I don’t think the weekend could’ve gone any better, Jim was very happy – he was awake for almost all of the race! – and sharing that emotion together was pretty awesome.”

Jenson Button, Rick Ware Racing, Mobil 1 Ford Mustang

Jenson Button, Rick Ware Racing, Mobil 1 Ford Mustang

Photo by: Rusty Jarrett / NKP / Motorsport Images

Button says he’s enjoyed his irregular racing activities but is now ready to expand his exploits in 2024.

“I have jumped around doing lots of different things over the years, basically because I wanted to race in those series, and I’ve been very lucky to be able to jump into certain cars and race,” he said.

“I feel I’ve got nothing to lose. I’ve won the world championship in F1, I achieved what I set out to do. Now I’m going racing because I love racing.

“I love learning new things, and the challenges are what keeps me going, otherwise I wouldn’t be racing anymore.”

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