Honda Performance Development President Art St. Cyr has admitted that “other circumstances” have prevented Jenson Button from joining Team Penske’s Acura DPi effort in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year.
The 2009 Formula One World Champion, as first revealed by Sportscar365 in August, had been linked to Acura Team Penske to be one of its drivers, at least in an endurance race capacity role next year.
Acura and Penske, however, announced on Wednesday that it has gone with IndyCar stars Simon Pagenaud and Graham Rahal to complete the team’s lineup for the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March.
Button, who has remained under contract with Honda this year, expressed his desire to join the WeatherTech Championship, but only in the Prototype class.
St. Cyr, meanwhile, admitted discussions had taken place with the Englishman but ultimately didn’t pan out.
“Of course, someone with Jenson Button’s talent and also his pedigree with Honda is definitely someone that we had considered,” St. Cyr told Sportscar365.
“But there were other circumstances that precluded him from being part of this program.
“It was something that was considered.
“As Tim [Cindric, Team Penske President] said, there’s a lot of different dynamics that we were considering with the drivers that we have right now. There’s a lot of discussions back and forth.
“We are extremely happy, and we think we got the right six [drivers] to really compete for a championship right now.”
Rolex 24 Still Possible for Button
While not likely being considered for the vacant full-time seats at Wayne Taylor Racing and Mazda, due to the financial requirements needed to secure the F1 veteran, Button still could take part in January’s season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
United Autosports team co-owner Zak Brown, who is also the Executive Director at McLaren, revealed to Sportscar365 last month that he’s been in discussions with Button to be one of the drivers for its planned two-car Ligier JS P217 Gibson effort in January.
“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.”
It’s understood Button is also considering a full-time switch to Super GT, having made his series debut in the Suzuka 1000km in August (pictured above).