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Garage 56 lineup for Le Mans: A sports car star and two past NASCAR Cup champions? IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

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MONTEREY, California. With the current Cup driver excluded from the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the NASCAR Garage 56 Camaro line is expected to have one top-notch sports car.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the NTT IndyCar Series Finals this past weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Chevrolet Vice President of Performance and Motorsport Jim Campbell said: “We will have one (driver), road racing and sports car expert, another pair of racers” in the Garage 56 application, which Hendrick Motorsports is preparing in conjunction with Chevrolet, Goodyear and NASCAR.

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NASCAR released its National Series schedule on Wednesday, and the weekend of June 9-11 at Sonoma Raceway for Xfinity and Cup will conflict with the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans at Circuit de la Sarthe.

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Campbell said NASCAR is not expected to change its schedule to allow an active Cup driver to compete in Next Gen at Le Mans. But he expected a Le Mans veteran from outside NASCAR to help guide him from behind the wheel.

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“A hardcore sports car driver with experience who has already competed in Le Mans can share it with other drivers who have not,” said Campbell.

The sports car veteran is expected to be Mike Rockenfeller, who won the Rolex 24 Hours and 24 Hours of Le Mans overall titles in 2010. german racer recently tested a specially modified Camaro on Michelin Road in Atlanta. He also made his Cup Series debut last month finishing 30th at the Watkins Glen International behind the Spire Motorsports number 77 Chevy.

Rockenfeller, who has competed in IMSA endurance racing with Jimmie Johnson since last year in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac, will likely be paired with two of the most successful drivers in Hendrick’s storied history.

Team owner Rick Hendrick hinted after the March presentation of the project that he would like seven-time Cup champion Johnson and four-time champion Jeff Gordon to sit in the car.

Revealing his racing plans for next season, Johnson reiterated last weekend that Le Mans is a priority. Gordon recently raced a Porsche at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, knocking off rust and fitting VP Hendrick Motorsports to sports cars.

Being in racing form for Le Mans will be critical because the Garage 56 lineup is likely to be limited to three drivers, although Campbell has lobbied for more.

“I was interested to see if the FIA ​​and ACO would allow us to bring in more riders than usual,” he said. “I was interested in five or six so we could bring in a lot of drivers who are well known in NASCAR star power and then let them work one or two stints, but it looks like we’ll stick to the usual number. that will be three. I’ll still be advocating for it, but right now it looks like three.”

Gordon was one of the winners of the 2017 Rolex 24 in Dayton. For the past two years, Johnson has regularly logged laps with IndyCar and IMSA.

Garage 56’s entry is led by Hendrick’s Vice President of Competition Chad Knaus, who has led Johnson to seven titles as a crew chief and called Action Express’ No. 48 Cadillac.

Next year, NASCAR will return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time in nearly 50 years. A modified version of the Chevrolet Next Gen Camaro ZL1. will take part in the prestigious Garage 56 race.a single-slot class dedicated to innovative vehicles since its introduction in 2012.

The 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule will have the same number of races and tracks as this season, with minor date changes.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season on March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida and end on September 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place on May 28 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will end with eight races in the last nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impressive upward trajectory, moving forward at a pace that is in keeping with our exciting style of competition,” President and CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp. said in a press release. Mark Miles. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to build on this trend further by bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and attracting new consumers around the world.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the seven finals) plus an Indy 500 qualifier on May 20-21. There are also three races on the USA Network and a race in Toronto exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and in the US will also be streamed live on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, The 2022 IndyCar season was the most popular in six years. and the most viewed on NBC Sports of all time. The 2022 season was also the most broadcast season on record.

“We are very excited about our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and will build on the major milestones from last season,” NBC Sports Vice President of Programming Mike Perman said in a press release. “By providing comprehensive coverage to NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports looks forward once again to telling the stories of these world-class racers and this exciting series.”

Notable elements of the 2023 schedule:

– There will be the same balance: seven road races, five street races and five ovals.

– St. Pete will open the season for the 13th time.

– The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

– NASCAR double-header weekend at IMS Highway will move to mid-August.

– The World Wide Technology Raceway event is rescheduled from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here is the IndyCar schedule for 2023:

Sun, March 5Streets of St. PetersburgNBC, Peacock
Sun, April 2Texas Motor SpeedwayNBC, Peacock
Sun, April 16Streets of Long BeachNBC, Peacock
Sun, April 30Barber Motorsport ParkNBC, Peacock
Sat, May 13Indianapolis Motor Speedway (highway)NBC, Peacock
Sun, May 28107th Indianapolis 500NBC, Peacock
Sun, June 4Streets of DetroitNBC, Peacock
Sun, June 18Road AmericaUSA Network, Peacock
Sun, July 2Sports Car Course in Mid OhioUSA Network, Peacock
Sun, July 16Streets of Torontopeacock
Sat, July 22Iowa Speedway – Race 1NBC, Peacock
Sun, July 23Iowa Speedway – Race 2NBC, Peacock
Sun, August 6Streets of NashvilleNBC, Peacock
Sat, Aug. 12Indianapolis Motor Speedway (highway)USA Network, Peacock
Sun, August 27World Technology RacewayNBC, Peacock
Sun, September 3Portland International SpeedwayNBC, Peacock
Sun, September 10WeatherTech Laguna Seca RacewayNBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms subject to change


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