Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global
Le Mans 24 Hours of Le Mans

Garage 56 NASCAR entry completes Le Mans 24 despite late drama

The Garage 56 NASCAR entry has completed the 2023 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

#24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 of Jimmie Johnson, Mike Rockenfeller, Jenson Button

The No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 ran as high as 27th and was ahead of the entire GTE-Am field after 20 hours,

Up to this point, the car had no real issues and no offs to speak of. But unfortunately, after twenty hours and nine minutes of racing, they encountered their first major mechanical setback.

“We have a drive line issue and the team is working to repair it now," explained Hendrick's VP of Competition, Chad Knaus. "The goal remains to finish the race.”

Jenson Button was behind the wheel at the time and the car had completed 254 laps. They spent one hour and 21 minutes in the garage changing the gearbox, did an out lap and then spent another 15 minutes checking over things.

When they finally returned to the race, Mike Rockenfeller was driving the Camaro. He quickly showed that the car was back to full song, setting its fastest race lap yet at a 3:50.512.

#65 Panis Racing Oreca 07 - Gibson of Manuel Maldonado, Tijmen Van Der Helm, Job Van Uitert, #24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 of Jimmie Johnson, Mike Rockenfeller, Jenson Button

#65 Panis Racing Oreca 07 - Gibson of Manuel Maldonado, Tijmen Van Der Helm, Job Van Uitert, #24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 of Jimmie Johnson, Mike Rockenfeller, Jenson Button

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

They were now running 40th overall, last among cars still in the race. Rockenfeller eventually handed the car over to Jimmie Johnson, who would finish the race. After another few minutes in the garage, he finally headed out for the final stint of the 24-hour endurance event.

One of the team's stated goals was to beat the GTE field, but of course, the primary goal was to finish the race. Despite the late drama, they did just that, crossing the line 39th overall and completing 285 laps.

Johnson and Button ran 97 laps each, while Rockenfeller was behind the wheel of 91 laps.

Button praises 'amazing group'

"It was awesome," Button told TV after the race. "Obviously the crowd are here to celebrate everyone that's taking part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. But to hear the cheer for our car as it went past here ... it's been a long journey for these guys getting the car ready for Le Mans. Lots of long hours, but what an amazing group of people to produce what they have with this car. Taking it from a Cup car and making it into an endurance car for Le Mans. Staggering. The best in the business. I'm proud to be working with these guys. 

"We (the drivers) didn't make any mistakes, but we still want to push the car hard. It's a car that is reasonably easy to drive. It's forgiving. Driving it hard, you do go slower, but it really is a wonderful car to drive."

Read Also:

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Le Mans 24 Hours: Ferrari beats Toyota in race of attrition
Next article Toyota told Hirakawa to take “full risk” at Le Mans in Ferrari pursuit

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global