Buriram - DESPITE HAVING 15 Formula One titles with one Championships trophy in 2009 under his belt, British racer Jenson Button remains hungry for more top podium positions, as changes lane to drive in the Super GT for Team Kunimitsu this season.
Driving the Honda NSX-GT, Button and Japanese teammate Naoki Yamamoto finished second twice in two out of three opening races. They are currently No 1 in the championships heading into this week’s fourth race at the Chang International Circuit in Buri Ram province.
“I expected Super GT to be very competitive. There are very talented drivers. After taking part in three races, I now understand it’s far more competitive than I expected,” said Button, who had the first driving test at the real venue in Buri Ram yesterday.
After winning three races and finishing fifth in the Formula One 2012 season, the Somerset-born never climbed the top spot on the podium again in the world’s biggest motor sport competition. By the end of 2017, after one appearance for the McLaren Honda team, Button decided to switch his attention to Super GT in Japan.
“The love for motor sports has always been there. But the challenge and the excitement had left. In Formula One, we had a good team but we didn’t get the results we wanted,” the Briton explained on why he had turned his back on F1. “Coming to Super GT, seeing the competitiveness of the teams, the racing is action-packed which is what I love. I love to fight,” Button said.
Button and Naoki Yamamoto
Button admitted that he had already achieved the ultimate goal in life by winning the F1 overall trophy in 2009. But what remains a challenge in life is to be exposed to new experiences and win the Super GT Championships at the end of the year.
“The most important thing for me in life is to keep learning, keep your brain active. Things always change in motorsports such as technology, the way the tyres work and the ways of driving. For me, it’s always about learning new skills,” he said. “My immediate aim is to win the Super GT Championships, which is going to be difficult. But we have such a good team, with a great teammate like Naoki. We will keep fighting and we have a good chance,” the Englishman said.
However, Button did not rule out his return to single-seat competition, including F1. “If there is something that interests me, yes, as the race [F1] was fun. I’m lucky at this point in my career where I can choose, and Super GT is the best place,” he added. With Thailand set to host its first-ever Moto GP in October in Buri Ram, Button expected a successful organisation.
“There seems to be a lot of interest in motor sports in Thailand, This is a great venue for cars and likewise I can see that riders are excited about riding here. But it’s going be really tough as it’s humid,” the racer said.
Last, but not least, Button is excited that England have made it to the last 16 in the on-going football World Cup. Asked if the Three Lions would win, he replied: “It would be difficult for England. Personally, the favourites will be Brazil and Spain. But England are looking much stronger than in previous years.”