Project 91 NASCAR Cup expansion proposals from Trackhouse for 2023

Project 91 NASCAR Cup Trackhouse 2023

A “six to eight” NASCAR Cup Series events are what Justin Marks, a co-owner of Trackhouse Racing, claims his Project 91 programme plans to add in 2023.

Project 91 NASCAR Cup Trackhouse 2023

Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 Formula 1 World Champion, drove his #91 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for the first time at Watkins Glen over the weekend. Raikkonen finished in the top 10 but crashed out in the last stage.

To field “world-class racers from other disciplines to participate in NASCAR’s highest level,” is Project 91’s declared goal. Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez, two racers for Trackhouse’s two full-time Cup Series squads who have both won championships in 2022, are already on the track.

Project 91 will only have Raikkonen’s race this year, according to Marks, but he does plan to expand it in the future.

“This is really our opportunity to sort of build this program; see how it impacts the operations of the company to field a part-time third car,” said Marks. “I’ve been telling people, we haven’t hired one person for this project. There’s just been a lot of people at Trackhouse that have been doing time-and-a-half to get this to go.

“This is really just about what it looks like to field a part-time third car, as far as on the operations of the company, moving forward. This will be its only event this year.”

When questioned if he will return to race the car in the future after retiring from Sunday’s race following an accident, Raikkonen responded, “We’ll see, I don’t know.”

Given that preparing prominent European players for a race track wouldn’t be as difficult as doing so for an oval race, Marks claimed that NASCAR’s expanded road course race calendar enables him to give them races.

“The road courses are kind of the ideal places to bring guys like Kimi in, just because of the experience on the road courses,” he said.

“I think it’s a quicker learning curve and they can get up to speed a lot more quickly than to go to ovals.”

However, Marks said he wouldn’t limit the show to race track competitions and may focus on highlight races on the bigger ovals. Meanwhile, Tony Stewart’s made-for-TV short-oval SRX series driver Helio Castroneves, a four-time Indy 500 champion, has expressed his desire to try NASCAR motorsport.

“Ultimately, Project 91 is a program that operates at all of the road courses during the season and then potentially some of the major [oval] events, like the Daytona 500, Coca-Cola 600, or something like that,” Marks said. “I think at some point, you get so many races that you have to look at just actually fielding a third full-time car.

“But I think for Project 91, it’s a six to eight race program potentially next year and beyond. It’s a brand extension of Trackhouse.

“I think we can get really unique on the content side, on the merchandise side and just create great stories. That’s sort of where I’d like to see it go.”

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