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Le Mans 24 Hours of Le Mans

Jimmie Johnson describes "incredible" first stint at Le Mans

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson completed his first stint at Le Mans without issue, driving the Garage 56 NASCAR entry.

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

Mike Rockenfeller began the race behind the wheel of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. They started at the front of the GTE-Am field, and avoided all of the early chaos that has plagued the 24-hour endurance race.

Johnson, 47, got his chance after Rockenfeller. The veteran NASCAR driver has some sports car racing experience, and ran several IMSA endurance races over the last two years. His best result came during the 2021 Rolex 24 at Daytona, finishing second overall.

At Le Mans on Saturday, Johnson completed 12 laps in a stint just shy of 59 minutes. Most of it took place with slow zones around the track due to multiple incidents. Former F1 World Champion Jenson Button has since replaced him behind the wheel and will drive a double stint. 

“It was incredible," said Johnson. "I had slow zones that took place with two or three big crashes on track. It was a totally different experience to work through those areas and take back off. All in all, just an amazing experience."

#24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 of Jimmie Johnson

#24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 of Jimmie Johnson

Photo by: Nikolaz Godet

After retiring from full-time NASCAR competition after the 2020 season, Johnson has made it his mission to tackle as many new challenges as possible. After having tried IndyCar and competed in the Indianapolis 500, he's moved into a team ownership role in the NASCAR Cup Series.

While running Le Mans for the first time, he's been taking it all in and engaging with fans whenever possible ... even during the race.

"One of the slow zones, it was a very crowded area with the fans – they were waving at me so I was waving back. It was really, really fun. I want every lap I can get. As long as they can keep me in the car, I’ll take it. Jenson is going to do a double, I’ll come back and do a double and then we’ll work from there.”

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