After taking a year off from Formula 1 racing, Jenson Button says his “love for motor racing is back” as he heads to Super GT series for the 2018 season.
Button debuted in Super GT earlier this year at the Suzuka 1000 km challenge. Last weekend, the British driver announced that he would take up the series on a full-time basis with Honda.
At the Japanese Grand Prix this year, Button admitted that he stayed in F1 for a year longer than he should have, and thus lost the love for motorsport. But when he came back to see the race last weekend, he realised he still loved the sport, but would not make a comeback to Formula1.
Talking with Motorsport during the Honda Thanks Day at Motegi, he said: “This year off from Formula 1 has been the best thing I possibly could have done because my love for racing is back,”
“F1, my time was done there, but for racing itself my love is well and truly back. I’m very excited.
“The race I did in August was so exciting, there was so much fighting, so much overtaking, and I really enjoyed it.
“Towards the end of the year [Masashi] Yamamoto-san [Honda motorsport boss] asked me if I’d like to do a full year of racing, and I said I’d love to do that.
“[In Super GT] there’s a lot of competition between the manufacturers, and a lot of talented drivers, which is what you need in a sport. That’s what gets you excited, that competition.”
No progress in Penske talks
Button was expected to get a seat in the new Penske Acura team for the IMSA SportsCar Championship for 2018. But the 2009 F1 champion admitted he prefers to take part in high-profile endurance races, and it is hard to mix the IMSA SportsCar with Super GT programme.
When asked about Penske, he said: “We talked, but I was thinking about the endurance races, because I wanted to do Daytona [24 Hours],”
“But it was tricky fitting it in with Super GT because you’d be all over the place during the season, flying between the US and Japan, and the testing schedules don’t fit either.
“I wanted to do one thing properly – I didn’t want to come into a season and over-race. Eight races [in Super GT] isn’t a lot, but it’s the perfect amount to get you back into racing again.”