Jimmie Johnson, Jenson Button to pilot Garage 56 entry at Le Mans
The driver line-up for the modified Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Next Gen NASCAR race car that will head to this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans was confirmed on Saturday at the 24 Hours of Daytona.
The three confirmed drivers were Jimmie Johnson, Jenson Button and Mike Rockenfeller.
Seven-time NASCAR champion Johnson is rumored to be among the drivers for the NASCAR Le Mans program as the Next Gen driver will be fielded by his former team, Hendrick Motorsports. It will be fielded in Le Mans’ single-vehicle Garage 56 class, designed for experimental vehicles.
Johnson, who moved from NASCAR to IndyCar after the 2020 season, announced his retirement from full-time racing last September, but a month later announced he would return to NASCAR on a limited schedule for 2023 in as pilot and part-owner of Petty GMS.
Button is a former Formula 1 driver who won the title in 2009 driving Brawn GP. He previously raced at Le Mans in 2018, sharing driving duties in an SMP Racing car which retired early due to engine failure. He also competed extensively in Japan’s Super GT touring car series.
Rockenfeller is the most experienced of the three drivers when it comes to Le Mans, and as a result he was the main driver during testing of the modified Next Gen race car for the French classic. He won the race in 2010 driving Audi and took a victory in the GT2 class in 2005 driving Porsche. This year’s race will be the 11th of his career.
Outside of Le Mans, Rockenfeller made his NASCAR Cup Series debut last year, joining Spire Motorsports for appearances at Watkins Glen International and Charlotte Motor Speedway.
This year, the Le Mans race is scheduled for the weekend of June 10. The event, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary, is the highlight of the World Endurance Championship calendar and this year will see new LMDh cars compete against LMH cars in the premier Hypercar class.
This article was originally published by Motor Authority, an Editorial Partner of ClassicCars.com.