Jenson Button has announced an off-road racing attempt in 2019 as he teams up with Chris Buncombe and Mazen Fawaz in a three-driver effort.
The former Formula 1 racer will compete in American off-road race Mint400 and Mexican Baja1000 events in 2019 with Buncombe and Fawaz, where they will drive a Brenthel Industries Truck in the Spec 6100 Trophy category.
The Mint400 event is scheduled between March 6-10 in Las Vegas with the race taking place on March 9-10 in a new two-day format. The SCORE Baja1000 event will take place between November 19-24 with the race on November 22-24 in Baja California (Mexico).
“I’m all about new challenges and although driving off road is in my blood as my late Dad raced in Autocross/Rallycross, this one of the biggest challenge I’ve ever tried to accomplish in my racing career,” said Button.
“Driving this truck is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. We’ve only had very limited mileage testing off road but it feels like we need to learn everything from the beginning again.
“Undoubtedly the help and assistance we’ve had from the Brenthel Brothers, Jonathan & Jordan, has been invaluable but it’s definitely taking us out of our comfort zones. It’s certainly going to be a special challenge and something I’ve wanted to try for a long time.
“The Mint 400 is the biggest off road race in the US so I’m really looking forward to getting out in the desert in Vegas and seeing what it’s all about. Baja is likely to be something else. The idea of 20+ hours racing off road is so different than anything we’ve done before.
“Having watched hours of on board already, the different types of terrain that we will encounter looks unbelievable.” The team will race under Rocket Motorsport banner and colours – the same as Button’s Blancpain GT Endurance Cup attempt.
Teammate Buncombe said: “It was certainly eye opening jumping in the truck for the first time but it’s going to be a fantastic experience, especially to do such significant races with two of my closest friends, Jenson and Maz.
“Everything about the way a truck drives is so alien to someone coming from a circuit racing background – super soft, huge suspension travel and a lot of weight to turn and stop. For sure we all have lots to learn, but with racing 130 miles each in Vegas and a bit more testing, I’m sure we will feel more familiar by the time we arrive in Baja.”
Singer Vehicle Design MD, Fawaz added: “I was lucky enough to have a little rally experience in a Porsche a few years back which I thoroughly enjoyed but I have to say, driving the truck is still very different to a rally car.
“The extreme terrain that these trucks fly across is just amazing and during the little amount of testing we’ve had, it’s clear to see just how many challenges there are during events like these.
“Around every corner and over every crest seems to be a rock in the road ready to end your race. Our aim in the Mint 400 & Baja 1000 will be to gain the valuable experience and to keep the truck together and out of trouble as it appears that the attrition rate is always pretty extreme in both events.”