Kamui Kobayashi is gearing up for his NASCAR debut

Kamui Kobayashi is gearing up for his NASCAR debut

Today in Indianapolis, on a road-type circuit similar to that which has hosted the US Grand Prix seven times until 2007, the next leg of the NASCAR Cup series will take place, the 24th in a row since the start of the season . take place.

It is getting more and more attention in the motorsport world, because in addition to American NASCAR stars, six other countries will be at the start, including two former Formula 1 drivers. For Jenson Button, world champion in 2009, this will not be the first such experience, but here Kamui Kobayashi is about to debut.

We talked about Kamui preparing to try his hand at NASCAR: It was announced in June that he would be driving the 23XI Racing team’s Toyota Camry in Indianapolis. Incidentally, he will be the first Japanese driver to participate in a NASCAR race in the history of this series.

Kobayashi, 36, once climbed the podium in Formula 1, but achieved his greatest success in endurance racing – as part of the factory Toyota Gazoo Racing team, he won the 24 Hours of Le Mans and became WEC champion twice. But according to him, he had long dreamed of NASCAR, and now he finally got his chance.

“I’ve asked so many times to be given this opportunity,” Kamui said. “That was three and four years ago. I asked to work on a NASCAR simulator, but I couldn’t. But in the end, somehow the opportunity presented itself. As you know, now many world class racers try their hand at NASCAR and achieve success.

The idea was supported in the American division of Toyota Racing, and now this day has arrived. But he was preceded by a good introduction to the team, and Kamui has repeatedly visited 23XI Racing’s North Carolina headquarters to study the approach to work. Together with the team, he was on the July stage in Chicago, attended all meetings with engineers – in general, he tried to fully immerse himself in the atmosphere of NASCAR.

And on July 19, Kamui drove a NASCAR car for the first time during tests on a Virginia Autobahn. Tyler Reddick, an American 23XI Racing rider who already has a track record of winning, then took on the coaching role and notes that Kobayashi was easy to work with.

“Adaptation didn’t take long,” Reddick said. – How quickly he got used to driving this car made a strong impression on me. After three laps, Kamui showed the pace we expected from him, and then went faster and faster. He is distinguished by the ability to drive the car, feel the limit of its capabilities and rubber.

There is no doubt about the professionalism of the Japanese racer, but of course he has no experience of real battles on the NASCAR circuit, where “power moves” are in use, but Kobayashi will have to learn all this along the way.

“I just have to do my best,” the Japanese rider added. – Still, the differences between NASCAR are only in the nuances – there are different speeds in the pit lane, restarts are different and all these details can become a problem for me. But overall I’m pretty confident.”

According to the results of qualifying, Kamui Kobayashi will start from 28th position, and Jenson Button – from 31st. The race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway starts at 9:30 p.m. in Moscow.

Source: F1 News

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