On Tuesday May 24, Justin Marks and Trackhouse Racing made a shocking yet intriguing announcement – the two car team would field a third entry for select events. The car, being called Project 91, is planned to be the figurative crossroads of international racing disciplines and the American NASCAR, featuring successful international drivers who are looking to try their hand in the US.
With the announcement, Trackhouse hadn’t announced a driver or schedule for the #91. Fans speculated shortly after the announcement, from IndyCar stars Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya to current F1 drivers like Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. Theories intensified as Trackhouse uploaded a message to their social media pages: “5.26.22.” Which brings us to today, May 26, 2022, where we now have a driver and a race weekend confirmed.
Trackhouse Racing announced that the 2007 F1 World Champion, Kimi Räikkönen, will drive the #91 Chevrolet Camaro at Watkins Glen International later this year!
Räikkönen, who retired from Formula One at the end of the 2021 season after breaking loads of records (most Grand Prix starts, oldest winner and pole sitter in the 21st century, most wins for a Finnish person, etc.), isn’t completely inexperienced when it comes to stock car racing – he competed in one NASCAR Xfinity Series and one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event in 2011.
And of course, there is the question of “why?” Justin Marks has always expressed that he is interested in growing NASCAR and Trackhouse to be an international brand, hence why the team’s first driver was Daniel Suarez hailing from Monterrey, Mexico, and the co-owner is international music superstar Pitbull. Project 91 is the perfect way to do this. By bringing in the F1 superstar Räikkönen, Marks is attracting potentially hundreds of thousands of Formula One fans looking to see how one of the all-time greats of their motorsport will do in NASCAR.
Now the question is: How will Kimi do with the Next Gen car, which is apparently tailored towards road course racing? Can he win in just a one-off? Or is it more difficult than that for the Finn? For now, we’ll have to wait for August, when the worlds of F1 and NASCAR clash at Watkins Glen.
Photo Credit///@THProject91 on Twitter.com