As the second F1 season without him kicks off, former Formula One World champion Kimi Raikkonen has revealed plans to branch into NASCAR racing this year.
Finland’s Turun Sanomat newspaper said the 2007 world champion will combine his world rally championship foray in 2011 with America’s premier motor racing category.
The 31-year-old’s NASCAR adventure will begin in between rally outings with some events in the lesser truck and Nationwide categories with his own Ice1 entry.
The Finnish report said Raikkonen will “make his debut before the summer” in business with Foster Gillett, former managing partner of premier Sprint Cup team Richard Petty Motorsports.
He said: “I am excited about getting to know the Nascar world. I have been following it for a long time and I’m 100 percent sure it will be fun and challenging.”
“I look forward to exploring the world of NASCAR,” Raikkonen is quoted as saying. “I’ve been following it for a long time and I know it’s a great series. I like the American style.
“It will definitely be fun and challenging.”
Turun Sanomat said talks with a car manufacturer are well advanced.
Raikkonen’s former McLaren teammate Juan Pablo Montoya switched to NASCAR in 2006.
Nelson Piquet, a former Renault F1 driver who left for Nascar after triggering one of the sport’s biggest controversies when he revealed he had been ordered to crash deliberately, also welcomed the news.