Jenson Button could make the transition to sports car racing next year, with multiple options on the table for the Formula One star in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, including a possible deal with Team Penske and Acura.
The 2009 F1 World Champion, who made his Super GT debut in last weekend’s Suzuka 1000km, has revealed ambitions of returning to full-time competition in 2018, after making only a single start in F1 this year.
Button recently purchased a new home in Los Angeles, which could fuel his desire to compete full-time in North America.
“Several options are being taken into account,” Button said last weekend in Suzuka. “I drew a line on Formula One, where I spent 17 years at. Super GT is one of the possibilities for 2018, as is FIA World Rallycross and the IMSA championship, which is growing with Acura arriving in 2018.
“Le Mans is also still part of the plans. Competition has failed me in recent times and I want, at all costs, to find a competitive environment.”
While Button, who has one year remaining on his contract with McLaren-Honda, has been linked to the new-for-2018 Penske Acura DPi program, United Autosports has also been in discussions with the 37-year-old to join them for its LMP2 effort in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The common link is McLaren Technology Group Executive Director Zak Brown, who also co-owns the Anglo-American squad.
“We’ve spoken to Jenson and have spoken to a bunch of others,” Brown told Sportscar365. “Jenson is close to the family, so to speak.
“If he wants to do it, we’d love to have him in our car. But he’s yet to decide what he wants to race next year.”
The addition of the F1 veteran to the WeatherTech Championship grid would come as another significant boost for IMSA, which has continued to gain momentium through the introduction of its DPi platform.
Penske has yet to confirm the two full-season drivers for its second Acura ARX-05, on the heels of announcing Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron earlier this month, with Team President Tim Cindric declining to comment on driver speculation.
While rumors have linked Helio Castroneves to a seat, potentially alongside current Prototype championship leader Ricky Taylor, it’s believed the Brazilian could remain in IndyCar should he win this year’s title, thus opening the door for Button.
“There’s no set deadline at the moment,” Cindric said on confirming the remainder of its lineup. “I think it’s important for us to get the right lineup rather than trying to push things out too early or setting deadlines for ourselves.”
Laurent Mercier contributed to this report