A NASCAR Champ Headlines Garage 56 Driver Lineup


Getty NASCAR revealed the driver lineup for the Garage 56 entry.

NASCAR has revealed the lineup of drivers taking over the Garage 56 entry during the 24 Hours of Le Mans. There will be three standout options, including seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson.

According to a press release, Johnson will share the Hendrick Motorsports-built Chevrolet with former 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Mike Rockenfeller and former Formula One champion Jenson Button.

Johnson and Rockenfeller both have experience behind the wheel of the Garage 56 Chevrolet. Rockenfeller has been the main test driver since the beginning of the project while Johnson has joined him at select locations.

One other driver will be on hand for the event. Four-time IMSA champion Jordan Taylor, who currently competes for Corvette Racing, will serve as the backup driver and coach. Taylor has experience at the prestigious event having won the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE Pro Class and finishing on the podium four times.

“Since the beginning of the Garage 56 project, it has been our goal to partner with the top racers in the world to represent us in Le Mans,” said Jim France, NASCAR chairman and CEO. “The lineup of Jimmie, ‘Rocky’ and Jenson is everything we could have dreamed of — three elite drivers who have won at the highest levels of motorsports worldwide.

“As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of NASCAR, we are honored to have these world-class champions help bring the sights and sounds of a NASCAR race car to fans in Le Mans, and across the world.”

Button Has Achieved Success at Numerous Tracks

24 Hours of Le Mans

GettyMike Rockenfeller (center) speaks during an event at Daytona International Speedway.

Button, who took part in the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans, has experience at a wide variety of tracks. He made 306 starts in Formula One, and he celebrated on the podium 50 total times.

Button won 15 Grands Prix during his career. His single-season career-high was six, which he set in the first seven events of the 2009 season. The lone exception during this stretch was a third-place finish at Shanghai International Circuit.

Button did not win anymore to close out the season, but he continued to deliver strong performances. He ultimately held off Sebastian Vettel to capture the F1 World Championship.

The veteran driver will now move forward with a different challenge. He will join forces with Johnson and Rockenfeller to control the Garage 56 entry and attempt to complete the endurance event.

“As a lifelong racing fan, I have always dreamed of racing certain cars, with and against certain drivers, and competing in certain events,” Button said. “In June, a number of those dreams will come true in one event when I get to bring NASCAR to the world stage alongside my pals Jimmie and ‘Rocky’ for the 100th anniversary of the most prestigious race in the world.

“I’m really looking forward to sharing this journey with NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet, and Goodyear, and current and future NASCAR fans from around the world.”

1 Main Hurdle Remains for NASCAR, Goodyear & Hendrick Motorsports

Jimmie Johnson

GettyJimmie Johnson & Mike Rockenfeller have previously worked as teammates.

The car is built, and it remains a work in progress as NASCAR, Goodyear, and Hendrick Motorsports fully prepare for the prestigious race. With the announcement made about the driver lineup, there is only one main hurdle remaining.

In order to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans under the Garage 56 banner, this group will have to receive approval from l’Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) prior to early June. Though NASCAR expects that this will not be an issue in the coming weeks.

For now, everyone involved will move forward with the focus on preparing for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. One essential part of this process will be a two-day test at Daytona International Speedway the week of January 30. This will give all three drivers an opportunity to work together and share knowledge.

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