The Nascar Le Mans Garage 56 test car prototype is headed for the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2023, and the race-prepared Chevy Camaro ZL1 is getting plenty of track time in the meantime, according to Nascar.
The endurance Camaro, which is based on the Nascar Next Gen race cars, underwent testing at Virginia International Raceway on November 15th. The race car will be fielded by Hendrick Motorsports (HMS). The prototype was built by IMSA team Action Express Racing (AER), and its development is being overseen by Chad Knaus, former Cup Series champion crew chief and current VP of Competition for HMS. At the testing session a few weeks ago, the Nascar Le Mans Camaro was driven by Mike Rockenfeller, former Le Mans winner.
‘Huge milestone’: Garage 56 Le Mans project enters next phase with VIR test
— NASCARG56 (@nascarg56) November 16, 2022
“We’re still trying to get it to go,” Knaus said, “and honestly, the way it ran today, I’m actually pleased with the performance of the car. We’ve just got to start to work out some of the bugs.”
Steve O’Donnell, CEO of Nascar, said that the sport is keeping a close eye on the Garage 56 Camaro ZL1 project and possible improvements for the Next Gen race cars. On an episode of Stacking Pennies, a podcast hosted by Cup Series racer Corey LaJoie, O’Donnell said he is optimistic about the Garage 56 project’s influence on the Next Gen cars. “I think there’s gonna be some good things,” he said. “At least from what we’ve seen already in the wind tunnel and a lot of the sim data, it looks really good in terms of getting rid of some of the challenges as we’ve seen, particularly on the short tracks.”
Certainly, the Nascar Le Mans race car will be a testament to the Camaro ZL1’s durability in an endurance race environment. As a reminder, 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 will be the case with the Next Gen stock car.