NASCAR announced Saturday the driver lineup for its Garage 56 entry in this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, which aligns one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history with two of the best from the highest levels of international racing. Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson will team up with former 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Mike Rockenfeller and 2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button to drive a Next Gen Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 fielded in a partnership between NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet and Goodyear.
NASCARits intentions to field a car for Garage 56, a single-car class reserved for concept cars testing future technology at Le Mans. The modified version of a NASCAR Cup Series car is expected to be approved for entry at Le Mans by l'Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) in the coming weeks.
"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," read a statement by NASCAR Chairman and CEO Jim France. "The lineup of Jimmie, 'Rocky' and Jensen 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."
Johnson's pedigree from his NASCAR career, which includes a record-tying seven championships and 83 career wins, will be complemented by the two world-class drivers alongside him. Mike Rockenfeller, an accomplished sports car racer whose career includes wins in both the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2010, has served as the lead test driver for the Garage 56 project. Button, whose F1 career included a World Championship and 15 Grand Prix victories, will join both after previously racing at Le Mans in 2018.
"I'm super thrilled – it's been at the top of my bucket list to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans someday," read a statement by Johnson. "To have this opportunity come – and to partner with everybody and this driver lineup – is truly an incredible opportunity and one that I am thankful to be a part of."
All three drivers in the Garage 56 program will be assisted by four-time IMSA champion Jordan Taylor, who will serve as the program's backup driver while also helping coach the trio ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans' centennial anniversary on June 10-11.