Russian ex-F1 driver to make NASCAR debut this weekend

Daniil Kvyat was meant to race in the World Endurance Championship for Russian team G-Drive.

Former F1 driver Daniil Kvyat will make his NASCAR debut this weekend, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Russian driver has made the switch to the US following a year on the sidelines, due to the current invasion of Ukraine.

Kvyat was meant to be racing for Russian team G-Drive this season in the World Endurance Championship, before the team had their place on the grid removed.

G-Drive team principal Roman Rusinov refused to sign a document from the FIA, which laid out rules following the ongoing war.

It’s seen Kvyat have to look for drives elsewhere, which has ultimately led him to NASCAR.

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The former Red Bull Racing driver will be competing for Team Hezeberg; however, for the time-being the Russian driver will only race in the road course rounds remaining this season.

Kvyat, who was nicknamed the ‘Torpedo’, is excited to make his NASCAR Cup Series debut, a series he has “always been passionate” about.

“I’m very happy to be able to make my NASCAR Cup Series debut at Indianapolis. I have always been passionate about racing in NASCAR, the top form of motorsport in the United States,” said Kvyat.

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“NASCAR has always been intriguing to me, as it is a pure form of motorsport to me.

“I’m looking forward to being successful in this form of motorsport and I hope to contend for wins and championships in the future.

“I can’t thank NASCAR, Josh Reaume, Toine Hezemans, Ernst Berg, and everybody at Team Hezeberg enough for the opportunity.

“The guys at the shop have been working tirelessly to prepare machine and myself for this experience.

“It will be my first time at Indianapolis, and I am looking forward to seeing it in person. From what I have seen on video, Indianapolis is a challenging circuit, but I’m looking forward to that challenge, along with competing in the NASCAR Cup Series.”

Incredibly, Kvyat will be racing against 2007 F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen at the Watkins Glen round later in the year.

The pair have a history against each other, with the duo having come to blows at the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix.

Kvyat accused Raikkonen of “suiciding himself”, after the pair collided whilst the Russian driver was overtaking the Finn for 12th.

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Despite Kvyat having a mixed F1 career, which saw him dropped by Red Bull in 2016 for Max Verstappen, Team Hezeberg co-owner Josh Reaume is expecting great things from the 28-year-old.

“Daniil is a very talented driver with an amazing amount of open wheel experience. In my opinion, NASCAR is a great spot for Daniil to end up at, especially with the Next-Gen’s capabilities throughout many styles of racing,” he explained.

“I’m looking forward to being a part of Daniil’s transition to NASCAR, and helping him however I possibly can.”