Rumor: Johnson to skip IndyCar race to drive Hendrick Cup car at Le Mans
Rumor has it that Jimmie Johnson is happy to skip any conflicting IndyCar race in June 2023 for a chance to drive the Hendrick Motorsport NASCAR Camaro in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Both the IndyCar Road America race, and Le Mans run on the same weekend this year.
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.
“I definitely am interested,” Johnson said after NTT IndyCar Series qualifying at Texas. “I haven’t had any serious talks. I knew Action was looking at it. I know there’s interest for me to be in the car. I know Mr. Hendrick would love for me to be in the car, and Chad’s been at the track. So there’s all this synergy that’s existing there, and honestly, that synergy is what kind of led to this opportunity.
“I just need to make sure I’m available, and I want to go there and race. I’ve been working in the direction of racing in LMDh (IMSA’s new top prototype next year) and LMP2. I’m pursuing pathways to be racing there in one of those two divisions, but this could be a unique opportunity to go experience Le Mans for the first time. But then I still don’t know what my IndyCar schedule is (for 2023), and if IndyCar has the weekend off. So there’s still a lot to be sorted out.”
“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.”