Jimmie Johnson is still talking behind the scenes about his plans to make his Le Mans debut in 2023 in a next-generation Camaro introduced by NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports.
The seven-time Cup Series champion said Tuesday morning that he is “looking forward” to confirmation of the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule, which is expected to open the weekend to move on to the famed endurance race in France.
“I want to go to Le Mans; It would be an amazing experience to work with Hendrick and Action Express and how this whole partnership works,” Johnson said. “But I think a lot really depends on the published schedule to see if I can, and also from the team’s point of view, which drivers will be first on their list, so I’m grateful to have had a few conversations with them. and I know there is interest. I certainly have tons of interest to do so. We’re just still waiting for the first domino to fall.
“I feel that interest is really high on both sides. We couldn’t talk about anything more formal because the schedule hasn’t been released yet.”
Since the project was announced in March, team owner Rick Hendrick has prominently mentioned Johnson as a prime candidate for Garage 56’s expected entry at Le Mans next year.
The program will be overseen by Hendrick’s Vice President of Motorsport Chad Knaus and crew chief of Johnson’s seven cup titles. also competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans that year. two weeks ago. The race was attended by several IMSA, Chevrolet and Hendrick executives (including COO Jeff Gordon, who is also on Hendrick’s list of potential drivers) for meetings about participation in Garage 56, which IMSA president John Doonan told NBC Sports, will be approved in January. .
Johnson is still finalizing his racing schedule for 2023, but he hopes it will include the same roster as this year – a full IndyCar season and an endurance racing schedule in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series. Last month ahead of his Indy 500 debut, Johnson said it would likely be months before he learned more about sponsor Carvana’s possible return with its No. 48 Dallara-Honda to IndyCar.
With the main prototype of the DPi class to be replaced next year by the new LMDh platform in the rebranded GTP category, there is the question of whether there will be enough chassis for part-time programs such as the #48 Ally Cadillac that was fielded at armament. for Johnson by Action Express over the past two years.
“I really think it allows for the schedule and opportunity,” Johnson said. “There will be such a shake-up in sports car racing next year that I’m not sure the dust has really settled to see where the opportunities might be. I still think that in the next month or two there will be more clarity for me and some others. Just like how this series really comes together and we know the cars and the places and the opportunities that are out there.”
Johnson denied a recent report that he could only consider ovals in IndyCar next year.
“I’m not sure where it came from; it wasn’t in any of the discussions I had or the thought processes I had,” said Johnson, who is running his first full IndyCar season since taking road and street courses in 2021. “What I did was so very fun and enjoyable. Keep getting better. Certainly hope to do something similar again next year.”