Button firming up rallycross and GT plans for 2017

Jenson Button is still firming up his racing plans for 2017 – and rallycross and the Japanese Super GT Series both look set feature on his schedule.

Button firming up rallycross and GT plans for 2017
Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-31
Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-31
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#100 Team Kunimitsu Honda NSX Concept GT: Naoki Yamamoto, Takuya Izawa
#38 Team Zent Cerumo Lexus RC F: Yuji Tachikawa, Hiroaki Ishiura and #12 Team Impul Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3: Hironobu Yasuda, Joao Paulo de Oliveira
Joni Wiman, Honda
Sebastian Eriksson, Honda

However, the Brit is adamant that he will not complete a full season in any discipline in his first year outside F1, as he wants to enjoy some time off.

A full year in Super GT with Honda was a prior possibility, but Button says he is only to contest the series' headlining event - the Suzuka 1000km race in August, for which teams employ third drivers.

Meanwhile, Button looks set to run some events in the US-based Global Rallycross Championship, rather than the FIA World Rallycross series.

Honda currently fields the Civic Coupe in the GRC, with backing from Red Bull, for Sebastian Eriksson and Joni Wiman.

Button insisted that his plans are not yet set in stone, but he made his preferences clear.

“I might do the Suzuka 1000 kilometres Super GT,” said the McLaren driver. “It would be nice if that works out, but it’s logistics really.

"Apart from that, I might do some rallycross in America, and do some testing in something else in rallycross. There’s lots that I can do, and I’ve just got to choose how much I really want to do next year, or have more of a rest.”

Asked about running a full rallycross season in 2017, Button said: “That won’t happen next year. In the future, definitely.

"I think it’s a massively growing sport, especially with Audi pulling out of Le Mans, and VW pulling out of rallying. I know their main aim is not rallycross, but it will definitely help their rallycross programmes.”

Intriguingly, the Briton reckoned that his ongoing McLaren ties would not necessarily restrict him to competing with Honda machinery only.

“I don’t think it has to be [the case], but obviously those are the easiest programmes for me to do, yes.

“Obviously if I get offered a drive, I will speak to the team about it. Nothing is set is stone, but I am sure they wouldn’t want me racing for a main competitor of Honda, which is completely understandable. I understand that.

"I won’t be racing at Le Mans next year, for example, the right opportunity isn’t there, but hopefully it will be in the future.”

Button made it clear that he wants to enjoy his racing in the future: “I’ve achieved what I set out to in F1. Obviously we all want to win more races, and more world titles, but you get what you’re given, and you take every opportunity that you’re given.

"I’m pretty happy with what I’ve achieved. Now I move forward, and I race for fun.

“I don’t have to worry about things that most of us have to worry about in life, I can focus on having fun and enjoying myself. That’s exactly what I’m aiming at doing next year.

"I won’t be doing a full programme in anything, it will be bits here and there, to get a good feel for where I feel I want to be in the future.”

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