The driver lineup for the modified Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Next Gen NASCAR race car headed to this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans was confirmed on Saturday during the 24 Hours of Daytona.
The three drivers confirmed were Jimmie Johnson, Jenson Button, and Mike Rockenfeller.
Johnson, a seven-time NASCAR champion, was widely rumored to be among the drivers for the NASCAR Le Mans program since the Next Gen racer 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 switched from NASCAR to IndyCar after the 2020 season, announced his retirement from full-time racing last September, but a month later came out with the announcement he would return to NASCAR on a limited schedule for 2023 as a driver and part-owner of Petty GMS.
Button is an ex-Formula 1 driver who won the title in 2009 driving for Brawn GP. He previously raced at Le Mans in 2018, sharing driving duties in an SMP Racing entry that retired early with engine failure. He’s 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’s been the primary driver during testing of the Next Gen race car modified for the French classic. He won the race outright in 2010 driving for Audi, and took home a win in the GT2 class in 2005 driving for 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’s road course.
This year’s Le Mans race is scheduled for the weekend starting Jun. 10. The event, which will be celebrating its 100th anniversary, is the highlight of the World Endurance Championship calendar and this year will see new LMDh cars go up against LMH cars in the premier Hypercar class.
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