6 JEN­SON AN­NOUNCES HIS RE­TIRE­MENT

WHEN: SEPTEM­BER 3 WHERE: MONZA, ITALY

Motor Sport News - - Top 50: Defining Moments -

When the news came just be­fore the Ital­ian Grand Prix in early Septem­ber, it was an­other half­way house. Button would step down from driv­ing, but re­main as part of the team’s line-up as a re­serve and devel­op­ment driver.

As the sea­son drew to a close, it be­came clear that Button knew that it was a farewell tour, and he treated the last races as such.

“I’m def­i­nitely not re­tir­ing. I’ll be work­ing with the team next year, I’ll be rac­ing in other things and in the fu­ture I will be

WHEN: JUNE 19 WHERE: LA SARTHE, FRANCE

Rarely has a sin­gle tweet de­fined a sport­ing drama as well as Anthony David­son’s, sent sec­onds af­ter the flag fell to end the 84th 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Toy­ota was so close. Kazuki Naka­jima was at the wheel of the num­ber five TS050 Hy­brid, run­ning 30 sec­onds ahead of the top Porsche 919 and en­ter­ing the fi­nal four min­utes of the race.

For 23 hours, 56 min­utes and 35 sec­onds the TS050 was a dream ma­chine. But for those fi­nal three and a bit, it be­came one of the legendary heart­break­ers.

Naka­jima had warned the team that the car’s ac­cel­er­a­tion was fad­ing with six min­utes to go but Toy­ota, des­per­ate for its first-ever Le Mans vic­tory, elected to keep the car out.

Naka­jima lost power for good due to an elec­tri­cal glitch ex­it­ing the Ford Chi­cane, with his car rolling to a halt on the start/fin­ish line on what was to be the fi­nal lap of the race. Porsche cruised past to snatch an un­likely sec­ond LMP1 win, driv­ing un­til I’m 70-odd years old,” he said in Abu Dhabi, the scene of his swan song. “I’m not re­tir­ing un­til then – it’s just whether I get paid to do it or not, that’s the only dif­fer­ence.”

The ques­tion now is, of course, what will he do next. There is an emo­tional link to ral­ly­cross, where his late fa­ther John forged a rep­u­ta­tion in the 1970s and 1980s. There is the temp­ta­tion to tackle Le Mans too. Which­ever dis­ci­pline he chooses, Button will be warmly re­ceived. MJ prompt­ing scenes of de­spair and dis­be­lief in the Toy­ota Ga­zoo Rac­ing garage.

David­son’s mes­sage sim­ply read: “Kazuki on the ra­dio as he crossed the line ‘I’m ready to cry guys’. Don’t worry mate. I was al­ready there.”

Enough said re­ally. RL

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