The Henrick Motorsports Garage 56 Chevrolet Camaro continues testing for NASCAR’s planned trip to the 100th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans next year, come June 2023. The most recent testing location was at the track at Carolina Motorsports Park on Wednesday, December 7. Images of the test were added to the Hendrick Motorsports website, and it looks like the car was taken onto the track during a rainy day, which gives a nice mist in the wake of the vehicle making its way around the track.
Garage 56 Chevrolet Camaro: Details
Since the Camaro nameplate will go back on the shelf after the 2024 model year, even though Chevrolet hasn’t officially said so, this occasion can be seen as a farewell capstone event for the muscle car. The car will fill the ACO’s famed Garage 56, reserved for showcases of innovative vehicles that fall outside of the race’s traditional class structure. Chad Knaus, Henrick’s VP of Competition, is overseeing the project. Knaus has extensive experience as a NASCAR crew chief, having been part of all seven of Jimmie Johnson’s Cup Series championships. Knaus has also been plying his trade during IMSA endurance events as part of the No.48 Ally Cadillac program jointly run by Action Express and Hendrick Motorsports.
We previously saw the Garage 56 Camaro out testing at Virginia International Raceway as the team worked to dial in the car’s performance and finalize the required modifications. Since we first saw the car, there have been significant improvements to the chassis, engine, transmission, and suspension upgrades to raise the car’s competitiveness relative to the WEC machinery it will share the track with for (hopefully) 24 hours.
This isn’t the first time NASCAR has gone to Le Mans; in 1976, NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. organized the entry of two Grand National stock cars- a Dodge Charger and a Ford Torino -into the 24 Hour race. However, the last time a Camaro was seen at La Sarthe was in the 1981 and 1982 races by Billy Hagen’s Stratagraph Racing. In short, not only is this the first time a NASCAR Camaro will compete in Le Mans, it may likely be the only time. Combine this with the new Hypercar field of cars, featuring marques from Cadillac to Lamborghini, as well as Corvette Racing for GTE Pro, and the 2023 24 Hours Of Le Mans is shaping to be a race unlike any other.