The name was announced Thursday, finally being unveiled as 23XI Racing. The obvious reference is to Michael Jordan’s iconic number while an NBA star. The second refers to Hamlin, who has driven the No. 11 since his rookie debut back in 2006.
The team, which features a single-car, has Bubba Wallace as their first driver. Wallace is leaving Richard Petty Motorsports after a wild year that featured political action and a handful of close finishes.
The team’s website offers this statement about Wallace.
“Bubba Wallace burst onto the national spotlight in 2020 as the social justice movement swept across America and Bubba took a stand in his sport. Bubba has been breaking barriers since he entered the sport of NASCAR, becoming the first African-American driver in several decades to win a national series race and be a full-time driver in the premier NASCAR Cup Series. In 2021 Bubba will take the wheel of the No. 23 car.”
Wallace and 23XI Racing will make their team debut on February 14, 2021 for the Daytona 500.
Hamlin Releases Statement
With the announcement of the name, Hamlin released a statement alongside.
“Michael and I have a shared vision for this team, so it’s exciting to see it reflected in the team name and on the race car with the iconic number 23 that Michael made famous.”
There is no doubt that the No. 23 is certainly iconic in the world of sports. But it will now take on a new meaning in NASCAR. It’s not unheard of for other athletes and celebrities to get invested in stock car racing. That being said, the arrival of 23XI Racing is one of the biggest new names to join the sport in some time.