NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports to pursue 2023 Le Mans entry

Colin
By Colin Wood
Mar 18, 2022 | Le Mans, IMSA, nascar, Hendrick Motorsports

Photography Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports announced today plans to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2023 with a Next Gen stock car.

You read that correctly.


In collaboration with IMSA, Chevrolet and Goodyear, the plan is to compete using a “specially prepared” Camaro ZL1 from the NASCAR Cup Series.

The announcement indicates that more details, including the team’s driver lineup, will be released at a later date.

Whether or not this a move by NASCAR to prove the performance of the Next Gen stock car, having one in the 24 Hours of Le Mans–the first since 1976–should make for a good show.

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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/17/22 1:33 p.m.

Watching the feed now. Breaking news. 

GregAmy
GregAmy New Reader
3/17/22 1:38 p.m.

Ok, I'm listening...

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/17/22 1:46 p.m.

In reply to GregAmy :

I know, right? 

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
3/17/22 1:51 p.m.

Yes please. More of this can only be good for both series.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
3/17/22 1:54 p.m.

In reply to tuna55 :

Agreed. Putting stock cars on the same track as GT3 cars means we don't have to use iRacing to compare the two anymore. wink

 

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/17/22 1:59 p.m.

Oh hell yes.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
3/17/22 2:13 p.m.

I guess that will test the transaxle well enough.  I'd imagine that car should work quite nicely.  Drop redline down to 8000 or so and go nuts.

jb229
jb229 New Reader
3/17/22 2:15 p.m.

Hopefully this starts a tradition for garage 56, where if it's empty they just invite a car from a random series.  Aussie supercars or BTCC next!

Flyman615
Flyman615 New Reader
3/17/22 2:35 p.m.

You bet! I'd love to see how stock cars perform at LeMans and Sebring, for example. Bring it on!

Definitely gone now
Definitely gone now SuperDork
3/17/22 2:35 p.m.

Right...."Camaro". 

mageep
mageep New Reader
3/17/22 2:47 p.m.

In reply to tuna55 :

There needs to be much more of this type of thing. This might be the first time I watch a NASCAR turning  laps in years.
 

I think they should open it up to DTM, BTCC, Australian supercar, all of it. What could possibly go wrong?

adam525i
adam525i GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/17/22 2:51 p.m.

Um, NASCAR's don't have headlights or taillights so I don't think this is a good idea, they should think this through more /s

JAdams
JAdams GRM+ Memberand Reader
3/17/22 2:54 p.m.

They know there are right turns, correct?

jb229
jb229 New Reader
3/17/22 3:12 p.m.
mageep said:

In reply to tuna55 :

There needs to be much more of this type of thing. This might be the first time I watch a NASCAR turning  laps in years.
 

I think they should open it up to DTM, BTCC, Australian supercar, all of it. What could possibly go wrong?

Super GT GT500 vs LMP2 coming when?

mageep
mageep New Reader
3/17/22 3:17 p.m.

In reply to jb229 :

can we all at least agree that we draw the line at NHRA?

 

 

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
3/17/22 3:19 p.m.
mageep said:

In reply to jb229 :

can we all at least agree that we draw the line at NHRA?

 

 

No. No we can't. I want to see a pro mod that sorta handles come off the corner. 

 

95 Customs
95 Customs New Reader
3/17/22 3:22 p.m.

In reply to tuna55 :

old school Mulsanne straight at 350 mph makes up for a lot of crappy turns  

 

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
3/17/22 3:37 p.m.
95 Customs said:

In reply to tuna55 :

old school Mulsanne straight at 350 mph makes up for a lot of crappy turns  

 

We're way off topic now, but someone should slap purple crack to the corners of one and do it (open track) just to see. It would be really entertaining. Imagine the lap traces on data acquisition on a 3500 hp Pro Mod versus a spec Miata.

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
3/17/22 3:44 p.m.

yee yee!

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
3/17/22 3:49 p.m.

I wonder if they've talked to the Automobile Club de l'Ouest.  It's one thing to say they want to run at Le Mans, it's another to get approved.

Patientzero
Patientzero Dork
3/17/22 4:26 p.m.
adam525i said:

Um, NASCAR's don't have headlights or taillights so I don't think this is a good idea, they should think this through more /s

There's no possible way for them to figure that out in time...

06HHR (Forum Supporter)
06HHR (Forum Supporter) Dork
3/17/22 4:33 p.m.

In reply to stuart in mn :

They are a Garage 56 entry, they are already approved.  Or they will be, they don't have to conform to a specific class per Garage 56 rules.  Anyway, the way the announcement reads it's pretty much a done deal.   

It actually makes sense when you consider the ties between IMSA , the ACO and LeMans going forward with the LMDh class, and that IMSA is basically owned by NASCAR  now(France family).

 

 

frenchyd
frenchyd GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/17/22 4:50 p.m.
tuna55 said:
95 Customs said:

In reply to tuna55 :

old school Mulsanne straight at 350 mph makes up for a lot of crappy turns  

 

We're way off topic now, but someone should slap purple crack to the corners of one and do it (open track) just to see. It would be really entertaining. Imagine the lap traces on data acquisition on a 3500 hp Pro Mod versus a spec Miata.

Well considering they rebuild the engine every quarter of a mile. , I'm not sure they could do that on the side of the track.   5 seconds to go 1/4 of a mile, coast another 1/4 of a mile, then 2 hours to rebuild the engine.  

j_tso
j_tso HalfDork
3/17/22 5:11 p.m.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
3/17/22 5:20 p.m.
frenchyd said:
tuna55 said:
95 Customs said:

In reply to tuna55 :

old school Mulsanne straight at 350 mph makes up for a lot of crappy turns  

 

We're way off topic now, but someone should slap purple crack to the corners of one and do it (open track) just to see. It would be really entertaining. Imagine the lap traces on data acquisition on a 3500 hp Pro Mod versus a spec Miata.

Well considering they rebuild the engine every quarter of a mile. , I'm not sure they could do that on the side of the track.   5 seconds to go 1/4 of a mile, coast another 1/4 of a mile, then 2 hours to rebuild the engine.  

You're thinking top fuel, the pro mod guys can go quite a while on the same engine.

Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/17/22 5:20 p.m.
mageep said:

In reply to jb229 :

can we all at least agree that we draw the line at NHRA?

Hell no! Put a front tire and a gas tank in a Pro Stock and let's see what that baby can do!!

jb229
jb229 New Reader
3/17/22 5:42 p.m.

In reply to stuart in mn :

ACO was part of the press conference.

jb229
jb229 New Reader
3/17/22 5:44 p.m.
tuna55 said:
95 Customs said:

In reply to tuna55 :

old school Mulsanne straight at 350 mph makes up for a lot of crappy turns  

 

We're way off topic now, but someone should slap purple crack to the corners of one and do it (open track) just to see. It would be really entertaining. Imagine the lap traces on data acquisition on a 3500 hp Pro Mod versus a spec Miata.

Quick in the corners vs fast on the straights? laugh

Will
Will UberDork
3/17/22 5:57 p.m.

Part of me is like "This is a great opportunity to dispel some stereotypes."

The other part of me is like "I hope it's a full-send 'Merica, berkeley yeah effort sponsored by Jack Daniels and Smith & Wesson."

slowbird
slowbird UltraDork
3/17/22 6:02 p.m.

My first thought was "How does this fit into Garage 56? Maybe if they make it a hybrid."

I was right. ACO wants it to be hybrid and somehow be similar in pace to GTE Am (which it might do, if the hybrid system is powerful enough, I suppose)

https://www.motorsport.com/lemans/news/le-mans-nascar-next-gen-hybrid/9083689/

preach (dudeist priest)
preach (dudeist priest) GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/17/22 6:19 p.m.

https://www.24h-lemans.com/en/news/1976-when-the-24-hours-of-le-mans-and-nascar-crossed-paths-16520

MotorsportsGordon
MotorsportsGordon Dork
3/17/22 6:35 p.m.
adam525i said:

Um, NASCAR's don't have headlights or taillights so I don't think this is a good idea, they should think this through more /s

Neither did all those tube frame imsa got and trans am cars in the 80s and 90s but they found various different ways to take care of that.

Wally (Forum Supporter)
Wally (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/17/22 6:36 p.m.
Will said:

Part of me is like "This is a great opportunity to dispel some stereotypes."

The other part of me is like "I hope it's a full-send 'Merica, berkeley yeah effort sponsored by Jack Daniels and Smith & Wesson."

I need to work on getting a passport and a mullet for next year 

MotorsportsGordon
MotorsportsGordon Dork
3/17/22 6:38 p.m.
Javelin said:
mageep said:

In reply to jb229 :

can we all at least agree that we draw the line at NHRA?

Hell no! Put a front tire and a gas tank in a Pro Stock and let's see what that baby can do!!

Gary beck did an exhibition lap at mosport in his top fuel car

http://www.competitionplus.com/featured-stories/18723-gary-beck-q-a-seattle-racing-icon-shares-his-memories

GB:   When we were sponsored by Export A, the Canadian cigarette company -- that was 1974-75 -- we did a lot of promotions across Canada. One was at Mosport, outside of Toronto, when NASCAR was there. We did an exhibition lap. The dragster is so fast and the groove is so good. Every time you'd stand on the throttle, it would hike the front end up. You'd go and you'd slow it down . . . turn and go, turn and go. I made a lap all the way around Mosport, which is a [2.459-mile] track.

They timed me, but I didn't know they were timing me. And I stopped in front of the grandstands and waved to the people, made another run down the back straightaway, I pulled the parachutes about three-quarters of the way around and dragged them around to put on a show. My time was only a few tenths off what the NASCAR [cars] were running that day. But the dragster's so fast. If I had any idea it was that close, I would have run a time faster than NASCAR. I didn't realize it was going to be that close. So that was fun.

 

Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/17/22 6:41 p.m.

In reply to MotorsportsGordon :

Holy crap that's cool

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/17/22 7:59 p.m.

When I first saw this thread, I though it was Daytona, which would have been really cool even then- since TA cars used to rock there, too.  Then I read it again... wow.  Very cool.  For sure will keep an eye on the race.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/17/22 8:07 p.m.

In reply to MotorsportsGordon :

I am amazed that the engine didn't fry. Didn't they have no radiators even in the 60s, just a water fill neck on each head?

Could probably get away with it for a little while on methanol, but nitromethane?

Still, it makes me giggle that it even happened in the first place.  Now imagine a slingshot doing that!

Also...

The other was at London, on a circle track. We were going to do a fire burnout and go around and do a lap. It was at night. We start the car. We do this fire burnout in front of the grandstands. They turned the lights out in Turn 1! I can't see nothin'! I give it a little throttle so that the header flames come back up so I can see around the corner. I get around Turn 2 and they turn the lights back on. I stand on the throttle and it picks the front end up and wheew -- down [the track] we go!

There's your answer for headlights wink

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
3/17/22 8:29 p.m.

There have been a few demonstration runs with dragsters at Goodwood as well, but they weren't exactly hot laps - they'd do a burn on a straight, then tip toe around a corner, then burn down the next straight.

Loweguy5
Loweguy5 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/17/22 8:43 p.m.

The 1980s NASCAR isn't today's NASCAR.   I predicted (because I'm like NASCARdamus), that IMSA and NASCAR would end up being more alike than ever before.

The new car with 18" wheels utilizing a center nut and a sequential shift transaxle in the rear combined with more road course races show that NASCAR is moving closer to sports car racing.   I know that's a run-on sentence, but hey, I had a lot to say.

I further assert that somewhere down the line you'll see NASCAR and IMSA share weekends at the same track.  I love NASCAR and appreciate their marketing prowess, and I've often wished IMSA invited a wider audience as I think the competition is amazing.

Perhaps the entire racing community benefits from exposing fans to different forms of motorsports?

j_tso
j_tso HalfDork
3/17/22 9:03 p.m.

In reply to Loweguy5 :

Back then people called the Grand-Am Rolex series the NASCAR of sports car racing. The Daytona Prototypes were like a stock car version of an LMP, and the GT class were tube frame silhouettes except the bodywork had to match the street car.

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia UltraDork
3/17/22 9:33 p.m.

I hope they do well , 

But 24 hours is a long race , how far will they need to back down the motor so it will last ?

Schmidlap
Schmidlap HalfDork
3/18/22 7:41 a.m.

In reply to californiamilleghia :

If they're racing a Camaro I assume they'll probably borrow a lot of the engine from the Corvette Lemans racer.

bruceman
bruceman Reader
3/18/22 8:02 a.m.

I hope they put together a nice diverse driver line up and not just good old boys

trigun7469
trigun7469 UltraDork
3/18/22 8:21 a.m.

As much as I like to make fun of Nascar in some ways they a secretly on the cutting edge of everything, without making there fans notice. Olympians doing the pit stops, on social change, marketing ect... Perhaps they can be the savior for marketing all of motorsports.

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/18/22 8:25 a.m.

One point about why this is being allowed is cost.  If the ACO has a class for mostly tube framed cars, that really opens up a lot of fabricators who don't have access to CF tubs.  And it's not as if they are not computerized- remember the Excocet is a CNC cut kit.  

So there's both room for inexpensive fabrication as well as computerized design, analysis, and manufacturing.

Not sure if this will really go anywhere, though- the GT class is doing really well, in terms of companies that participate in a manner to support private teams.  (one huge fault to the Ford GT is that it could never be sold to private teams- the engine had some real unobtanium to make it survive).  And the prototypes were supposed to lean toward the hypercar model....

Wally (Forum Supporter)
Wally (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/18/22 8:25 a.m.

In reply to bruceman :

It should be their regular cup drivers. There's no point in going through all this and putting outsiders in the car.  

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
3/18/22 9:00 a.m.
californiamilleghia said:

I hope they do well , 

But 24 hours is a long race , how far will they need to back down the motor so it will last ?

Actually probably not much at all. Perhaps the cam needs to be a bit more gentle. Last I checked, they were still forced to run flat tappet cams, and asking quite a lot of ramp rate from them. If they were inclined to develop good rollers, I suspect they'd actually make more power.

hybridmomentspass
hybridmomentspass HalfDork
3/18/22 9:50 a.m.
bruceman said:

I hope they put together a nice diverse driver line up and not just good old boys

Why not NASCAR guys? If they put those guys in, and the car ran well (ie: no failures, massive faults), then it'd be a huge promotion for the sport that many think can only drive in counter-clockwise circles. 

Im not a NASCAR fan, but seeing some of them and what they do with road racing cars (Johnson, Gordon, Stewart, Mears etc have all run prototypes, and I think 3/4 of that list have gotten a watch, but maybe Im wrong on that stat), theyve got talents and it'd be cool to show it on the worldstage. 

It'd be cool to put some of the stereotypes to rest. Get a good ole boy from right here in the Triad and send him over to France and see how he can do. 

kevinatfms
kevinatfms GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/18/22 9:52 a.m.

Id hope they would go all out like the Porsche 919 Evo. Just take the Nascar rule book and throw most of it out the window. 

racerfink
racerfink UltraDork
3/18/22 12:19 p.m.

I hope they use Larson, Elliot, Byron, and Bowman.  Larson, along with Jamie McMurray, won the Rolex 24 in 2015 in a Ganassi DP.

And for some of you that are either too young to remember, or so old you forgot, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Colin Edwards won a Race of Champions about a decade ago.  It was rally cars for the car guys, and a 2wd buggy for the motorcycle guys, on a dirt course.  And while Edwards certainly helped matters by never losing in the buggy, Gordon and Johnson more than held their own in the rally cars against some BIG names in rallying.

Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/18/22 12:31 p.m.

In reply to racerfink :

Gordon was a wildly successful sprint car racer before NASCAR.

wawazat
wawazat SuperDork
3/18/22 12:33 p.m.
Wally (Forum Supporter) said:
Will said:

Part of me is like "This is a great opportunity to dispel some stereotypes."

The other part of me is like "I hope it's a full-send 'Merica, berkeley yeah effort sponsored by Jack Daniels and Smith & Wesson."

I need to work on getting a passport and a mullet for next year 

I quoted Wally so that this gem didn't get lost in the noise.

Wally (Forum Supporter)
Wally (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/18/22 2:33 p.m.

In reply to Loweguy5 :

There was some crossover in the 70s and 80s too. A number of Ford drivers were in Roush cars for the 24 hours of Daytona, and Bobby Allison ran a Buick Sommerset one year. 

APEowner
APEowner GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
3/18/22 3:08 p.m.
Javelin said:

In reply to racerfink :

Gordon was a wildly successful sprint car racer before NASCAR.

And Johnson came from off road trucks so he too is pretty comfortable with being crossed up sideways in the dirt.

RandolphCarter
RandolphCarter New Reader
3/19/22 8:53 a.m.
mageep said:

In reply to tuna55 :

There needs to be much more of this type of thing. This might be the first time I watch a NASCAR turning  laps in years.
 

I think they should open it up to DTM, BTCC, Australian supercar, all of it. What could possibly go wrong?

 

The Stadium Super Trucks show up?

MotorsportsGordon
MotorsportsGordon Dork
3/19/22 10:18 a.m.
RandolphCarter said:
mageep said:

In reply to tuna55 :

There needs to be much more of this type of thing. This might be the first time I watch a NASCAR turning  laps in years.
 

I think they should open it up to DTM, BTCC, Australian supercar, all of it. What could possibly go wrong?

 

The Stadium Super Trucks show up?

Or a sprint car too

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjtIf-VtJME

 

Wally (Forum Supporter)
Wally (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/19/22 12:48 p.m.

In reply to RandolphCarter :

I'd love to see more races open to pretty much anything that showed up and could meet a minimum speed. 

GCrites80s
GCrites80s Dork
3/19/22 5:02 p.m.
Wally (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to Loweguy5 :

There was some crossover in the 70s and 80s too. A number of Ford drivers were in Roush cars for the 24 hours of Daytona, and Bobby Allison ran a Buick Sommerset one year. 

Allison in the Somerset was in preparation for a whole separate NASCAR series called the "LR Cars" that never fully panned out. It would have been a NASCAR road course series. The LR cars in testing weighed 400-500 pounds less. There were two generations of cars -- the first was considered pretty crappy so they continued development until they got much better.

Sparkydog
Sparkydog HalfDork
3/19/22 9:44 p.m.

Here's your driver 

MotorsportsGordon
MotorsportsGordon Dork
3/20/22 1:07 a.m.
GCrites80s said:
Wally (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to Loweguy5 :

There was some crossover in the 70s and 80s too. A number of Ford drivers were in Roush cars for the 24 hours of Daytona, and Bobby Allison ran a Buick Sommerset one year. 

Allison in the Somerset was in preparation for a whole separate NASCAR series called the "LR Cars" that never fully panned out. It would have been a NASCAR road course series. The LR cars in testing weighed 400-500 pounds less. There were two generations of cars -- the first was considered pretty crappy so they continued development until they got much better.

Allisons car was run in the 24 after nascar scrapped the lr deal. He built it to test for nascar then the scraped the deal so he brought it back out for tge 24.

MotorsportsGordon
MotorsportsGordon Dork
3/20/22 1:09 a.m.

Ford Torino running at the Daytona 24

racerfink
racerfink UltraDork
3/20/22 8:39 a.m.

When NASCAR raced at Le Mans

The guys style could use a little pizzazz, but his research is good.

Wally (Forum Supporter)
Wally (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/20/22 9:45 a.m.

In reply to GCrites80s :

Somewhere I have a picture of an Olds Calais in JD Stacy colors testing at the Meadowlands.  It was a neat looking little car. 

kevinatfms
kevinatfms GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/21/22 9:57 a.m.
Javelin said:

In reply to racerfink :

Gordon was a wildly successful sprint car racer before NASCAR.

Wasnt Larson like unstoppable in sprint racing after he got removed from the Cup series for his racial slur? 

Yup. Won 4+ in Outlaws when he was on his hiatus.
https://motorsports.nbcsports.com/2020/07/14/kyle-larsons-world-of-outlaws-dirt-racing/

Asphalt_Gundam
Asphalt_Gundam Reader
3/22/22 12:36 p.m.
MotorsportsGordon said:

Ford Torino running at the Daytona 24

Might be just the picture but that sure looks like wrinkle wall on the front tire...I've not seen that before.

APEowner

Javelin said:

In reply to racerfink :

Gordon was a wildly successful sprint car racer before NASCAR.

And Johnson came from off road trucks so he too is pretty comfortable with being crossed up sideways in the dirt.

IIRC Johnson came from dirt bikes before that.

IMO there's no lack of talent in NASCAR. They all came to the series from something else after all. Should be several options within the ranks if they choose to do so.

I don't see why they'd bother running Corvette Racing's engine. NASCAR engine programs are incredibly good. They have to be to handle hours at Wide Open for Daytona and Talladega. I'd expect minor changes at the most. I can see far more effort being put into making the rest of the driveline reliable. Unless of course this turn into a one off that has little to do with cup cars than the outer shell.

MotorsportsGordon
MotorsportsGordon Dork
3/22/22 12:51 p.m.

Not lemans but here is nascar cars racing at Bathurst 

 

MotorsportsGordon
MotorsportsGordon Dork
3/22/22 2:19 p.m.
Asphalt_Gundam said:
MotorsportsGordon said:

Ford Torino running at the Daytona 24

Might be just the picture but that sure looks like wrinkle wall on the front tire...I've not seen that before.

APEowner

Javelin said:

In reply to racerfink :

Gordon was a wildly successful sprint car racer before NASCAR.

And Johnson came from off road trucks so he too is pretty comfortable with being crossed up sideways in the dirt.

IIRC Johnson came from dirt bikes before that.

IMO there's no lack of talent in NASCAR. They all came to the series from something else after all. Should be several options within the ranks if they choose to do so.

I don't see why they'd bother running Corvette Racing's engine. NASCAR engine programs are incredibly good. They have to be to handle hours at Wide Open for Daytona and Talladega. I'd expect minor changes at the most. I can see far more effort being put into making the rest of the driveline reliable. Unless of course this turn into a one off that has little to do with cup cars than the outer shell.

Earnhardt childress engines have been doing gm Daytona prototype and Daytona prototype international engines for a number of years so they are fairly experienced at endurance engines.

action express racing is expected to be involved with the program aswell which makes sense since it's owned by Jim France and managed by Gary Nelson.

GCrites80s
GCrites80s Dork
3/22/22 2:35 p.m.

Taking the RPM down by 1000 vastly increases engine life in any case.

Wally (Forum Supporter)
Wally (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/22/22 4:19 p.m.

In reply to Asphalt_Gundam :

Every tire is a wrinkle wall if you put enough stress on it. 

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