2009 Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button will leave Japan’s Super GT Championship at the end of the 2019 season.
Button, the reigning Super GT Champion, announced he will step away from Japan’s premier level of sportscar racing following this weekend’s season finale at Motegi.
“Ahead of this weekend’s season finale in Motegi I wanted to take this chance to announce that it will in fact be my last race in Super GT,” Button wrote on an Instagram post.
“When I decided to move away from Formula 1 I wanted to find a challenge which would scratch that competitive itch at the highest level and my two seasons in Super GT have certainly done that.”
Button won the Super GT title at the first attempt during his rookie campaign in 2018 alongside Team Kunimitsu Honda teammate Naoki Yamamoto, who the Briton praised as one of the “strongest teammate’s I’ve ever had”.
“Not only did I get to go on another journey with Honda, who have been a huge part of my racing career to date, but I also got to team up with Naoki Yamamoto, who is not only one of the strongest teammate’s I’ve ever had but also a great guy and as a team we managed to win the Super GT Championship in my rookie year, which is easily one of my proudest achievements,” he added.
“Throughout my career I’ve always highlighted Japan as a special place to compete because of the incredible fans and their passion for the sport, so to have the chance to compete there throughout the year has been an absolute honour and has produced some wonderful memories.”
The duo have endured a difficult 2019 season in their bid to defend their crown and head into the final race of the season eighth in the championship and without a win so far this year.
It remains to be seen whether Button, who became a father earlier this year, will continue his competitive motorsport career beyond this year.
The 39-year-old’s last F1 appearance came at the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix as he stood in for the Indy 500-bound Fernando Alonso, after stepping away from the sport on a full-time basis at the end of 2016 with one world title, 15 grand prix victories and 306 race starts to his name.
Button has been a regular guest on Sky Sport’s coverage throughout the 2019 F1 season, most recently appearing at last weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.