Jenson Button is aiming to return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans at some point in the future.
The 2009 Formula 1 world champion, who will race in Nitro Rallycross’ all-electric Group E category this year, participated in the twice-round-the-clock race in 2018 with a view to securing a manufacturer deal in the future. He ultimately opted against pursuing such a drive, with his other commitments away from the driving seat taking precedence.
“Racing at Le Mans… I do feel that I’ve missed out there a little bit,” he told RACER. “I raced there once with SMP, which was a great experience and to be fair, the car was fun to drive.
“You’re never going to beat a manufacturer like Toyota, but [it was a] really good experience.
“I basically was doing that so that in the future I would have experience when I worked with a manufacturer to race at Le Mans, but nothing really worked out and I, to be fair, didn’t try very hard to get a drive because I was so busy with other things.
“But I would like to do Le Mans again. To just be part of the race, whether it’s in GTs – GT3 cars are going to be there the year after next – so there’s many possibilities in Le Mans in the future.
“That’s probably the only [other] thing I’ll do. And maybe some GT3 racing, and I’ll give it a go as I’ve got a team.” (ED: Button co-owns Jenson Team Rocket RJN, which runs a McLaren 720S GT3 in British GT).
The announcement that Button will race in Nitro Rallycross came after years of his being linked with drives in IndyCar and IMSA, and despite countless motorsport opportunities in the U.S., where he now lives, it’s the fun factor of the emerging Nitro series that swayed him.
“This just looks like so much fun,” he said. “I’m still going to put a lot of time and effort into this because whatever I drive, I want to be competitive.
“But the time needed to do an IMSA season is too much for me. I can’t be away from the family for that much time because I already travel a lot with other things I’m doing like Sky [TV] and, and working with Williams and all the other partners that I have.
“So I just can’t. I just don’t think it’s fair on the kids and I just don’t want to be away from them for that long.
“I could have done the I could have done the long distance races, the endurance races in IMSA, but I also find that we are jumping in a car with someone that’s doing the championship and if you mess up, you’ve destroyed their championship, so it’s kind of a bit of a weird situation.
“I don’t mind sharing cars, but I’d rather have my own car that I can go and race and it’s all down to me whether I mess up or if I do well.”
Elaborating further on his upcoming Nitro Rallycross stint, Button said: “This looks a lot fun and working with Oli [Bennett] and his team with XITE Racing, it’s just a really nice sort of family atmosphere.
“And that’s what I want. That’s what I love about racing. But obviously when we get to a race, we’ll be serious and we want to win. But it’s about the atmosphere for me, that was most important, having fun.”