Brit says en­durance show­piece may be an op­tion

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - By Edd Straw Pho­tos: LAT

Mclaren driver Jenson But­ton has re­vealed he wants to race in the Le Mans 24 Hours one day, as he con­tin­ues to pon­der his F1 fu­ture.

The 36-year-old says he has “a few op­tions” to con­tinue to race in F1 for an 18th sea­son and that the de­ci­sion whether or not to do so lies solely in his hands, even though Mclaren is eval­u­at­ing re­plac­ing him with long-time pro­tege Stof­fel Van­doorne.

But when asked what else he wants to do in life af­ter F1, Le Mans was among his tar­gets, which rep­re­sents a change in his po­si­tion given he ruled out such a move as re­cently as late 2013.

“There’s so much I want to do in my life in terms of com­pe­ti­tion,” said But­ton.

“I want to do Le Mans, I’d love to if the right op­por­tu­nity came up and I was wanted and I felt it was a good chance and gave me the pos­si­bil­ity of win­ning.

“It’s a great race and I love the ca­ma­raderie of the team mem­bers and the at­mos­phere.”

The 2009 world cham­pion also re­vealed he was keen on en­ter­ing an en­durance race with rac­ing driver friends. Although he did not spec­ify who, this could in­clude the likes of reign­ing Blanc­pain En­durance cham­pion Alex Bun­combe.

But­ton has lit­tle ex­pe­ri­ence of that form of rac­ing, hav­ing spent al­most all of his car rac­ing ca­reer in sin­gle-seaters. While he did com­pete in the 1999 Spa 24 Hours driv­ing a Rafanelli-run BMW, the car re­tired be­fore he got be­hind the wheel in the race.

But­ton con­firmed he has yet to dis­cuss his Mclaren fu­ture with Ron Den­nis, but that such a con­ver­sa­tion is planned for Septem­ber. “I don’t know,” said But­ton when asked about his F1 fu­ture. “I have days when I want to be rac­ing and other days when I think I’ve been around long enough and that do­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent could pos­si­bly be more fun.

“I’ve lived by Bernie Ec­cle­stone’s sched­ule for 17 years, maybe I want to be my own man.”

But­ton is known to have held talks with Wil­liams, while Re­nault is on the look­out for a driver to lead the team in 2017.

A de­ci­sion is ex­pected soon, with But­ton say­ing at Spa last week­end that he’s “al­most there with my thought process” and that he “thought about it” a lot dur­ing the Au­gust break.

But­ton: to stick with F1 or not

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