DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 17, 2022) – Nearly half a century after Bill France Sr. first took stock cars to the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans, NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports have announced their intention to compete in the 2023 event as the special Garage 56 entry. The entry will be a modified version of the Next Gen Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 race car and is a collaboration of NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet, IMSA, and Goodyear. Further details, including technical elements of the car and the team’s driver lineup, will be announced at a later date.
“From the early days of NASCAR, it was important to my father that we played a visible role in international motorsports, and there is no bigger stage than the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” said Jim France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO. “In partnering with Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet and Goodyear, we have the winningest team, manufacturer and tire in NASCAR history. We look forward to showcasing the technology in the Next Gen car and putting forward a competitive entry in the historic race.”
Hendrick Motorsports is the all-time leader in NASCAR Cup Series championships, points-paying victories and laps led. The team is coming off its second consecutive title and has won two of the four races in 2022. Seven-time champion crew chief Chad Knaus will serve as its Garage 56 program manager.
“Participating in one of the truly iconic events in auto racing and representing NASCAR and Chevrolet on the world stage is a privilege,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “Jim deserves tremendous credit for having the vision for the project, and we thank him for trusting our organization with the responsibility. Even though Garage 56 is a ‘class of one,’ we are competitors and have every intention of putting a bold product on the racetrack for the fans at Le Mans. It’s a humbling opportunity – one that will present an exciting challenge over the next 15 months – but our team is ready.”
“NASCAR is going back to Le Mans! Chevrolet is looking forward to being a key partner with NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports and Goodyear in this historic Garage 56 effort,” said Jim Campbell, Vice President, Chevrolet Performance and Motorsports. “While many know us as the winningest manufacturer in NASCAR, we also have had great success with our Corvette Racing program at Le Mans, with eight class wins in 21 starts since 2000. At Chevrolet, we love to compete and we can’t wait to get started on this program.”
“Goodyear has proudly produced tires for NASCAR for more than 60 years, and we look forward to taking our innovation to the next level at the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” said Stu Grant, Goodyear’s general manager of Global Race Tires. “In addition to Goodyear’s presence at Le Mans on the LMP2 class vehicles, being involved in this historic race as part of the Garage 56 entry is yet another demonstration of our commitment to advancing racing tire technology.”
Bill France first brought stock cars to Le Mans on June 12, 1976, after reaching a deal with the event’s organizers. Two NASCAR race cars – a Dodge Charger owned and driven by Hershel McGriff, and a Junie Donlavey owned Ford Torino driven by Richard Brooks and Dick Hutcherson – competed in a newly-created Grand International class.
“Garage 56 is a special opportunity at Le Mans since this race has been a leader in technological process for the auto industry over its nearly century long existence,” said Pierre Fillon, president of l’Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), the organizer of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. “When the ACO receives an application for a Garage 56 program, we begin by talking with designers, team partners, and suppliers in order to set performance parameters such that the program can be successful for everyone involved. We will continue to work with NASCAR and all their partners as they work toward their proposed 2023 Garage 56 project.”
Garage 56 was introduced in 2012 as a special single-entry class reserved for innovative cars. It allows for the testing of new technologies and fostering of creativity and innovation without taking away the spot of a car from the traditional starting grid.
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States and owner of 16 of the nation’s major motorsports entertainment facilities. NASCAR consists of three national series (NASCAR Cup Series™, NASCAR Xfinity Series™, and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series™), four regional series (ARCA Menards Series, ARCA Menards Series East & West and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour), one local grassroots series and three international series. The International Motor Sports Association™ (IMSA®) governs the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship™, the premier U.S. sports car series. NASCAR also owns Motor Racing Network, Racing Electronics, Americrown Service and ONE DAYTONA. Based in Daytona Beach, Florida, with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. For more information visit www.NASCAR.com and www.IMSA.com, and follow NASCAR on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (‘NASCAR’).
About the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA)
International Motor Sports Association, LLC (IMSA) was originally founded in 1969 and owns a long and rich history in sports car racing. Today, IMSA is the sanctioning body of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the premier sports car racing series in North America. IMSA also sanctions the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and the IMSA Prototype Challenge, as well as four one-make series: Ferrari Challenge North America, Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires, Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America and Porsche Carrera Cup North America. IMSA – a company within the NASCAR family – is the exclusive strategic partner in North America with the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) which operates the 24 Hours of Le Mans as a part of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The partnership enables selected IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competitors to earn automatic entries into the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans. For more information please visit IMSA.com, www.twitter.com/IMSA, www.facebook.com/IMSA or www.instagram.com/imsa_racing.
About Hendrick Motorsports
Founded by Rick Hendrick in 1984, Hendrick Motorsports is the winningest team in NASCAR Cup Series history. At the sport’s premier level, the organization holds the all-time records in every major statistical category, including championships (14), points-paying race victories (282) and laps led (more than 75,000). It has earned at least one race win in a record 38 different seasons, including an active streak of 37 in a row (1986-2022). The team fields four full-time Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 entries in the NASCAR Cup Series with drivers Alex Bowman, William Byron, Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson. Headquartered on more than 100 acres in Concord, North Carolina, Hendrick Motorsports employs approximately 600 people. For more information, please visit HendrickMotorsports.com or interact on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, available in 80 countries with more than 3.2 million cars and trucks sold in 2020. Chevrolet models include electric and fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.
About The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies. It employs about 72,000 people and manufactures its products in 57 facilities in 23 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio, and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg, strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry. For more information about Goodyear and its products, go to www.goodyear.com/corporate.