Tickets for the 100th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans happening in June of this year sold out in just two months, with attendance expected to exceed over 160,000 people – a new record. And not only is it the 100th running, but a whole new field of hybrid prototypes – nicknamed the Hypercars – are set to battle for this milestone event. This top field will consist of cars from Porsche, Ferrari, Toyota, Peugeot, Glickenhaus, Vandervell, and Cadillac. But there’s another entry that’s arguably more exciting than all of them: a NASCAR Chevrolet Camaro. A collaboration between IMSA, NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet and Goodyear, the Garage 56 Camaro isn’t just a side-show car, either, especially when looking at its driver lineup, which is a trio of Le Mans, NASCAR and Formula 1 champions. There’s 2010 Le Mans champion Mike Rockenfeller, seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, and 2009 F1 champion Jenson Button.
With various testing being done on several racetracks, the vehicle will undoubtedly be a significant highlight of the 100th iteration of the renowned race. As we get ever closer to the event, refinement of the car continues, and now, the driver lineup for the Garage 56 Camaro has been decided.
The work before the 24 ⏱ pic.twitter.com/yvgaE7jYhG
— NASCARG56 (@nascarg56) February 1, 2023
Button never truly retired from racing after leaving Formula 1 in 2017. He karted casually, helped run the GT3 team Jenson Team Rocket RJN, and drove in the Super GT GT500 class, winning the 2018 Super GT Championship. Meaning he’s not rusty with racing and still has the fire of competition within him for the upcoming race. His entry into Le Mans with Garage 56 is the newest adventure in his post-F1 racing career, and it’s undoubtedly the most unique.
The Garage 56 Le Mans Camaro is free from the restraints of the Cup series ruleset. This means everything can and has been revised. From the suspension, chassis, bodywork (mirrors!), and even the engine. The loud V8 and stock car aesthetics remain from the factory. The Camaro will enter under the ACO’s “technology of tomorrow and beyond” entry, set aside for innovative machinery and unique entries.
Button joining the team started with a conversation between him and Jimmie Johnson. And after Rockenfeller invited Jenson Button to test the modified car at Sebring, the deal was made. All three drivers recently visited Daytona International Speedway after the Rolex 24 to test the updated Garage 56 Chevrolet Camaro around the road course on the Tuesday, headlights and all.