Former Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button is bringing the family name to the desert in 2019.
Under the Rocket Motorsport banner, which was previously used by his father John’s karting team, Button will run a Class 6100 truck in both the Mint 400 and Baja 1000 in 2019. This marks the second Rocket Motorsport project to be launched for 2019, as Button will also race in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup. Button will partner with Chris Buncombe and Mazen Fawaz in the truck.
“The idea of 20-plus hours racing off road is so different to anything we’ve done before, and having watched hours of on-board already, the different types of terrain that we will encounter look unbelievable!” Button said to Motorsport.com. “Driving this truck is like nothing I’ve ever experienced: we’ve only had very limited mileage testing off road but it feels like we need to learn everything from the beginning again.”
Button spent 17 full seasons in Formula 1, debuting with Williams in 2000. He took his first win for Honda in 2006, only to nearly be left on the sidelines when the manufacturer withdrew before the 2009 season. Team principal Ross Brawn rescued the outfit, renamed Brawn GP, and that year, Button became the most improbable champion in F1 history; with an independent team and mostly unsponsored car, Button won six of the season’s first seven races. He then spent the next seven years at McLaren before bidding farewell to F1 in the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix as a substitute for Fernando Alonso.
Since leaving F1, though, Button has found plenty to keep him busy. While a rumored Red Bull Global Rallycross ride with Honda never came to fruition, Button made his Super GT debut in 2017 and ran the full championship in 2018, scoring the GT500 title with one win and three podiums. In addition, Button is a member of SMP Racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship, competing alongside fellow ex-F1 driver Vitaly Petrov and former IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin in the LMP1 class.
Class 6100 trucks are some of the top vehicles in off-road racing, ranked behind only Trophy Trucks and Class 1500 cars. In last year’s Mint 400, Bobby Pecoy led the winning Class 6100 team, cracking the overall top 20 in a Brenthel Industries truck. Button’s #6162 truck, carrying the same white, black, and fluorescent yellow colors of his championship-winning Brawn GP car, will also be prepared by Brenthel.