Jenson Button Will Drive in 2018 Super GT for Honda
Formula 1 champion inks deal to drive NSX-GT for Honda in the Japanese racing series.
Retired Honda Formula 1 driver Jenson Button will race a Honda in the 2018 Japanese Autobacs Super GT Series, the British racer said in an interview.
While attending the Honda Racing Thanks Day at Twin Ring Motegi, Button sat in on a fan forum with McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne. During that talk, Button mentioned he’d signed a contract with Honda to race a Honda NSX-GT in the GT500 class.
The British driver didn’t elaborate on the contract, but he did debut for Team Mugen at the Suzuka 1000 Kilometers in 2017. Button finished 12th in that race with regular Mugen co-drivers Hideki Mutoh and Daisuke Nakajima. However, Honda fields five different Super GT teams, so that could be subject to change.
— Autosport (@autosport) December 12, 2017
Button’s relationship with Honda stretches back to 2003 when he drove for the Lucky Strike BAR Honda squad in Formula 1. He finished third in the driver’s championship in 2004 with Honda, then won the 2009 title for Brawn GP. That was an offshoot of Honda’s abandoned team for the season, led by Russ Brawn.
Most recently, Button drove for the resurrected, albeit disappointing, McLaren Honda team along with Fernando Alonso. Button retired after the 2016 campaign, aside from a one-off substitution for Alonso while the Spaniard raced the Indy 500.
Honda NSX-GT in Super GT
Like all cars in the GT500 class, the NSX-GT runs a twin-turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes well over 600 horsepower. That monster engine and impressive aerodynamics give GT500 cars pace that matches current Le Mans Prototypes.
While Honda fields five GT500 cars, Super GT is one of few series in the world to feature open tire rules. Three different manufacturers — Bridgestone, Yokohama, and Dunlop — provide tires to the five Honda squads.
Nissan and Lexus/Toyota have stymied Honda for GT500 titles in recent years. Honda’s last championship came in 2010 with Loic Duval and Takashi Kogure. That was Honda’s second title since the Super GT formula was introduced in 2005. Daisuke Ito and Ralph Firman won the first Honda championship in 2007.
The 2018 Autobacs Super GT season kicks off April 7 and 8 at Okayama Circuit.