As if a typical NASCAR race wasn’t intense enough, NASCAR will be returning to the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time in nearly half a century. The oldest active endurance racing event in the world, the 24 Hours of Le Mans event provides a unique challenge. Rather than completing the race in the least amount of time, the race is won by the car that covers the most distance in a 24-hour time frame.
With their modified Chevolet Camaro ZL1, Rick Hendrick and his team, Hendrick Motorsports, will compete in the legendary race next summer. Though the driver lineup has yet to be announced, Rick Hendrick gave his thoughts on the upcoming contest in a recent press conference.
“We’re not taking this lightly,” Hendrick says. “This is a full-blown effort to run 24 hours and to run competitive times. And so, our guys are working aero, weight, horsepower, and we’re looking at different classes.”
“They’ve told us kind of where we’d like to be, but we’re not going over there to ride around. We’re going to put the best effort out there and run very competitively and finish the race. That’s a tall order, but I feel strongly that we can do it.”
As you might expect, the 24 Hours of Le Mans requires a different approach than a typical NASCAR race. With the competition lasting a full day, racing teams have to balance speed with their car’s ability to run for the incredible length of time without mechanical failure. Don’t forget, the race is won by distance covered. Spending the least amount of time in the pits as possible is paramount.
Rick Hendrick, Other NASCAR Officials Talk 24 Hours of Le Mans
Along with sharing his plans for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Rick Hendrick discussed what competing in the historic competition means to Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR as a whole. “Participating in one of the truly iconic events in auto racing and representing NASCAR and Chevrolet on the world stage is a privilege,” Hendrick said. “Jim deserves tremendous credit for having the vision for the project. We thank him for trusting our organization with the responsibility.”
“It’s a humbling opportunity,” Hendrick concluded. “One that will present an exciting challenge over the next 15 months. But our team is ready.”
NASCAR Chairman and CEO, Jim France, gave his thoughts on NASCAR’s involvement in Le Mans as well. “From the early days of NASCAR, it was important to my father [Bill] that we played a visible role in international motorsports,” France said. “And there is no bigger stage than the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”
“In partnering with Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet, and Goodyear, we have the winningest team, manufacturer, and tire in NASCAR history. We look forward to showcasing the technology in the Next-Gen car and putting forward a competitive entry in the historic race.”