F1 champion Jenson Button has announced his intention to leave Super GT at the end of the 2019 season after two years in championship.
In a surprising move, former F1 racer Button has decided to move on from Super GT after the 2019 season with this weekend’s race in Twin Ring Motegi being his last with Team Kunimitsu in the #1 Honda NSX-GT, in the lead GT500 category.
Button joined Super GT in 2018 when he paired up with Naoki Yamamoto, who recently drove the Toro Rosso F1 car during Japanese GP’s FP1 session. In only his first year in the championship, he took the drivers’ title with Yamamoto.
However, the 2019 season hasn’t gone to their expectations as they sit eighth with just the 32 points and only two podiums to his name. He also represented Honda and Team Kunitmitsu in the joint race with DTM at Hockenheim.
“Ahead of this weekend’s season finale in Motegi I wanted to take this chance to announce that it will in fact be my last race in Super GT,” wrote Button. “When I decided to move away from F1, I wanted to find a challenge which would scratch that competitive itch at the highest level and my two seasons in Super GT have certainly done that.
“Not only did I get to go on another journey with Honda, who have been a huge part of my racing career to date, but I also got to team up with Naoki Yamamoto, who is not only one of the strongest teammates I’ve ever had but also a great guy and as a team we managed to win the Super GT championship in my rookie year, which is easily one of my proudest achievements.
“Throughout my career I’ve always highlighted Japan as a special place to compete because of the incredible fans and their passion for the sport, so to have the chance to compete there throughout the year has been an absolute honour and has produced some wonderful memories.
“I’d like to therefore take this chance to thank those fans, my brilliant teammate Naoki, the whole of Team Kunumitsu, who have this incredibly exciting combination of a relatively young group being lead by one of the legends of motorsport in Kunumitsu-San himself.
“They demonstrated unwavering passion and professionalism throughout and are a joy to work with. I’d like to also thank the entire Honda family for helping make this another brilliant chapter in my career. Let’s make this weekend count.”
Since leaving F1, Button has raced in Super GT as well as the FIA World Endurance Championship which includes Le Mans 24 Hours race. He left SMP Racing after 2018/19 season, with the birth of his child as family took precedence.
He also launched Team Rocket Motorsport, which is racing in certain off-road races in the United States of America with Button himself driving too. The team also competes in Blancpain GT Series in association with Honda.
Button is interested in more off-road events in the future but has ruled out racing in Dakar. It remains to be seen as to which series he chooses next to compete, while he is expected to stay with Sky F1 team for selected grand prix races in 2020 in his pundit role.
Hear Jenson Button on F1 Beyond The Grid podcast