Adding to an off-road racing institution already brimming with the historically proven ability to bring top-tier drivers to the brutal Nevada desert, event directors for the upcoming BFGoodrich Mint 400 today made it official – 2009 Formula 1 Champion Jenson Button will be competing in this year’s race.
“Breaking news! I’m very excited to announce that I will be racing the Mint 400 and Baja 1000 with my buddies Chrissy Buncombe and Maz Fawaz,” Button posted on Twitter. “I’m all about new challenges, but this is a big one!”
Button will be teamed with Le Mans champion Chris Buncombe and Managing Director of Singer Vehicle Design Mazen Fawaz. Operating under the newly formed umbrella of Rocket Motorsports, the team will be fielding a Brenthel Industries-built 6100-class truck in the “Great American Off-Road Race,” scheduled for March 6-10, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The short announcement also included a rendering of the newly built 6100 truck, which will compete in one of today’s most competitive classes. Increasingly popular with racers of all backgrounds, the trucks are essentially unlimited Trophy-Trucks with restrictions on their V-8 powerplants. From what we can surmise there is also industry support for the effort coming from BFGoodrich and Method Wheels, as well as international brands Mobil 1 and Esso.
“Very excited to embark on this all new adventure in racing,” shared Fawaz exclusively with RACER.com. “Jensen, Chris and I have been friends for a long time, and it takes a certain amount of trust in each other to foster a great team, especially in such a significant off-road challenge. I couldn’t be more excited.”
Rumors of Button’s debut in off-road racing have been brewing for weeks, but RACER.com can confirm that that British superstar has already tested his new Brenthel-built truck in the deserts of Southern California.
“We are super stoked, it shows you just how valuable off-road racing is becoming to the larger motorsports world,” shared Mint 400 CEO Matt Martelli. “The Mint 400 has a rich history of bringing world class racers and celebrities to the race, and this is an exciting addition to that legacy.”
With a colorful past as a Las Vegas attraction and cultural event, the Mint 400 has roots that stretch back to the sport’s beginning in 1968. In that time such names as James Garner, Steve McQueen, Parnelli Jones (pictured), Johnny Rutherford, Mickey Thompson, Roger Ward, Patrick Dempsey, Robby Gordon and many others have taken on the challenge.
RACER will be providing race coverage and exclusive stories on this year’s BFGoodrich Mint 400 beginning next week and throughout the event.