One NASCAR Cup Series team is about to open the door for some international drivers. Trackhouse Racing has revealed that it will feature a third, part-time entry in select races while providing opportunities for multiple drivers.
The Cup Series team revealed the news on May 24. Project91 will provide a seat for drivers from a variety of disciplines and give them the ability to compete against the best drivers in NASCAR. Trackhouse Racing did not reveal the first driver or race where the No. 91 will compete; that information will come during Memorial Day Weekend. However, the team released a teaser video that showed highlights from rallycross, the Daytona 500, and Formula 1.
“PROJECT91’s mission is to activate the intersection point of NASCAR racing and global motorsport culture,” said Trackhouse Racing owner Justin Marks in a press release. “I truly believe the NexGen car represents an opportunity for NASCAR to enter the global professional motorsport conversation.
“We now have a race vehicle with international technological relevance where world-class drivers from other disciplines can compete at NASCAR’s highest level without the steep learning curve that the previous generation cars required. Vehicle advancements used in other forms of motorsports, such as diffusers, independent rear suspension, the sequential gearbox, and other more common components, have resulted in a platform much less reliant on intimate proprietary stock car knowledge, which has historically made any transition to NASCAR difficult.
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“With the formation of PROJECT91, Trackhouse has opened the door for global champions while beginning the process of scaling into an internationally recognized racing brand.”
Several Fans Voiced Support for Specific Drivers
With Trackhouse Racing making the announcement early in the week, there is still a considerable amount of time remaining before the team reveals which driver will first take over the No. 91 Chevrolet Camaro. However, the fans wasted no time voicing their opinions about potential stars.
One popular name listed was Lewis Hamilton. The seven-time Formula 1 champion is friends with 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace, and he is one of the most talented drivers in motorsports. There were several people that expressed the opinion that he should take his talents to NASCAR and compete in a stock car.
Another popular option was Daniel Ricciardo. The McLaren driver has a multitude of fans based on his personality, and he is also a self-proclaimed NASCAR fan. Ricciardo is the same driver that took Dale Earnhardt’s iconic No. 3 Wrangler Chevrolet on a lap around Circuit of the Americas in October 2021.
Formula 1 drivers Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher, who both drive for Haas F1 Team, recently got behind the wheel of a stock car. They joined Chase Briscoe, Riley Herbst, and Cole Custer for some laps around Charlotte Motor Speedway in a previous-generation Ford Mustang.
The Rallycross Footage Creates Intrigue
Project91 will feature one international driver during the 2022 season, but the expectation is that there will be multiple races featuring the No. 91 with plans to expand in future seasons. This will provide Trackhouse Racing with the opportunity to turn to multiple drivers.
Formula 1 and IndyCar drivers immediately stand out as options for road course races, but the rallycross footage from the montage creates intrigue. There are several standout drivers that could step in for some unique events.
The return to Bristol Motor Speedway’s dirt track in 2023 immediately jumps out. There are several drivers that have taken on dirt courses both in the United States and overseas, and there are some that already have experience in stock car racing. This list includes Steve Arpin, Scott Speed, and Travis Pastrana. Though there are numerous standout drivers from the ranks of rallycross that could suit up for the dirt race.