Garage 56 Car Unveiled

The Garage 56 project – a combination effort by NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet and Goodyear to enter a car in this June’s 24 Hours of Le Mans – brought many of the sport’s senior executives together to finally unveil the specially-constructed Chevrolet in Daytona’s famed Victory Lane.

The car – in a bright blue, silver and gold livery – is expected to get official Le Mans entry from the l’Automobile Club de l’Quest (ACO) in a few weeks. It’s combination of efforts notably includes the winningest team, manufacturer and tire in the sport’s 75-year history.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, sports car star and former Le Mans winner Mike Rockenfeller and former Formula One champion Jenson Button are tabbed to drive the car. The Hendrick Motorsports organization – with leadership from four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon (now an executive with the company), championship crew chief Chad Knaus and former Hendrick crew chief Greg Ives are overseeing the technical development of the car, whose next test date is a 24-hour run on Monday-Tuesday at the famed Sebring International Raceway, located a couple hours south of Daytona Beach.

Rockenfeller – and the team’s fourth driver, IMSA champion Jordan Taylor – joined an esteemed list of guests for the “unveil” on Friday including NASCAR CEO Jim France, NASCAR President Steve Phelps, longtime NASCAR executive Mike Helton, IMSA President John Doonan, and several key Hendrick personnel from owner Rick Hendrick to Knaus and Gordon.

“I consider it some of the best racing there is and taking it over and showcasing it in European events to their fans, my dad did it a long time ago and it was a heckuva an idea then and I think still a good idea,” said France.

“The best positive reception for me was when I went to Rick Hendrick and asked him if he wanted to be involved in this project and he said, ‘definitely,’ so that to me, validated the whole concept.”

France said he went to Hendrick because that was the winningest team in NASCAR history and wanted that kind of success to help represent NASCAR.

And he couldn’t be happier with the look of the car.

“It’s a beautiful work of art and the fans will love it,” France said of the car. “Watching it run through the chicane and with the lights on at night, absolutely awesome. It’s spectacular.”