Nascar and Hendrick Motorsports announced that the two organizations will work together to put a modified Next Gen stock car in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2023.
The collaboration will also include efforts from IMSA, Chevrolet and Goodyear. Chad Knaus, former Cup Series crew chief and current Vice President of Competition at Hendrick Motorsports, will oversee the project. The Next Gen stock car’s driver roster for the endurance race, along with technical details, will be announced at a later date. The proposed stock car entry must first be approved by race organizer l’Automobile Club de l’Ouest.
The proposed entry would fill the Garage 56 slot at Le Mans. Garage 56 is considered a “showcase” competition slot, and the entry does not compete for points in the championship. Instead, the race car in Garage 56 exists to show off innovation brought to Le Mans, as would be the case with the Next Gen stock car.
“It’s been almost 50 years since my father [Bill France Jr.] took Nascar over to Le Mans,” said Jim France, CEO of Nascar and IMSA, at a press conference on March 17th. “I talked to Rick [Hendrick] along the way if it would be something that he would be interested in doing. He’s our championship team, the winningest team in our Cup Series. I felt like that would be very, very important if he would represent our sport in this big event.”
Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports, said, “It’s just going to be exciting for us. To partner with Chevrolet and Goodyear, Nascar, our guys are fired up. We want to represent our sport.”
The entry into Garage 56 at Le Mans will be a Next Gen Camaro ZL1. However, instead of the traditional internal combustion engine, the race car will likely feature a hybridized propulsion system, a setup that was not possible with previous generations of Nascar stock cars.