HomeSportsJimmie Johnson, Mike Rockenfeller, Jenson Button get Le Mans nods

Jimmie Johnson, Mike Rockenfeller, Jenson Button get Le Mans nods

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Jimmie Johnson, Mike Rockenfeller and Jenson Button will drive the particular Storage 56 automobile that can race on the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

Johnson, a seven-time NASCAR champion, has lobbied laborious for a spot within the three-driver lineup for his former workforce. He’d been ready for IndyCar and NASCAR schedules to be launched to make sure his availability, and was lastly confirmed Saturday forward of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I am tremendous thrilled — it has been on the high of my bucket listing to compete within the 24 Hours of Le Mans sometime,” Johnson mentioned. “To have this chance come, and to accomplice with everyone and this driver lineup, is really an unbelievable alternative and one which I’m grateful to be part of.”

Rockenfeller is a former Le Mans winner and has spent the previous two years racing the Rolex at Daytona Worldwide Speedway in a Hendrick sports activities automobile alongside Johnson. He has additionally performed the majority of the testing on the challenge and pushed the automobile at each on-track take a look at and within the simulator.

Rockenfeller received the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 2005 24 Hours of Le Mans GT Class, the 2010 Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 2013 German DTM championship. He has pushed the automobile at each on-track take a look at and spent numerous hours behind the wheel within the simulator.

“It has been a terrific journey thus far with the entire workforce and challenge,” Rockenfeller mentioned. “To be concerned as a driver from day one till now was already a terrific honor, and to now have Jimmie and Jenson alongside me as teammates in Le Mans is unbelievable.”

Button, the 2009 System One world champion, was the shock choose, as most anticipated it will be four-time NASCAR champion and Corridor of Famer Jeff Gordon. Johnson had been actively recruiting Button, each drivers mentioned Saturday, however the 51-year-old Gordon was making an attempt to get again into racing form and even participated in an IMSA-sanctioned race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in September.

“As a lifelong racing fan, I’ve all the time dreamed of racing sure vehicles, with and in opposition to sure drivers and competing in sure occasions,” Button mentioned. “In June, quite a few these desires will come true in a single occasion once I get to convey NASCAR to the world stage alongside my friends Jimmie and Rocky for the one hundredth anniversary of probably the most prestigious race on this planet.”

Gordon didn’t attend Saturday’s announcement at Daytona Worldwide Speedway as a result of he was sick, however Hendrick Motorsports vp and common supervisor Jeff Andrews mentioned Gordon was simply high-quality with the Storage 56 lineup.

“Because the starting of the Storage 56 challenge, it has been our objective to accomplice with the highest racers on this planet to symbolize us in Le Mans,” NASCAR chairman and CEO Jim France mentioned. “The lineup of Jimmie, ‘Rocky’ and Jenson is every thing we might have dreamed of — three elite drivers who’ve received on the highest ranges of motorsports worldwide.

“As we rejoice the seventy fifth anniversary of NASCAR, we’re honored to have these world-class champions assist convey the sights and sounds of a NASCAR race automobile to followers in Le Mans, and internationally.”

NASCAR will take its new Subsequent Gen automobile to Le Mans for the one hundredth anniversary of the race as a part of particular class that showcases expertise. Hendrick and Common Motors have been tasked with the challenge, however NASCAR has opened the information to all of the producers after others complained Storage 56 gave one group and one producer unfair entry to a automobile everybody continues to be studying.

The Subsequent Gen Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is anticipated to be authorised for entry by l’Car Membership de l’Ouest (ACO) within the coming weeks to compete at Le Mans.

All three drivers will take part in subsequent week’s two-day take a look at at Daytona Worldwide Speedway. Jordan Taylor, who at the moment competes within the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for Corvette Racing, will function the backup driver and driver coach. Taylor received the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE Professional Class and has completed on the rostrum 4 instances. He’s a four-time IMSA champion.


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