NASCAR legend, IndyCar full-timer and IMSA part-timer, who has 3 times completed runner-up within the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, says that he’s “eagerly awaiting” the 2023 IndyCar schedule to see what’s and isn’t possible, on condition that the centenary Le Mans 24hr race will probably be held June 10-11, 2023.
It was introduced in March that NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports and Chevrolet can be coming into a modified Next-Gen Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Le Mans next year, to pay homage to NASCAR founder Invoice France taking inventory vehicles to the race some 50 years in the past.
Chad Knaus, Johnson’s race engineer in NASCAR, will head up the ‘Storage 56’ entry and crew proprietor Rick Hendrick has vowed to place “a daring product on the racetrack.” The automobile may have hybrid energy.
Johnson has boosted his road-racing expertise over the previous season-and-a-half, not solely competing for Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda within the NTT IndyCar Sequence but in addition piloting a part-time Motion Categorical Racing Cadillac within the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s Michelin Endurance Cup rounds.
Nonetheless, he was pressured to overlook the 12 Hours of Sebring in March because of his Ganassi IndyCar dedication at Texas Motor Speedway – which paid off when he scored sixth on his IndyCar oval debut.
It’s these forms of sportscar/IndyCar date clashes for 2023 that Johnson is keen to study as quickly as attainable earlier than he can assess what’s and isn’t attainable. He has stated on quite a few events that Le Mans is on his bucket record, and now he perceives the Hendrick Chevy Storage 56 venture as a really perfect alternative.
“I’m nonetheless eagerly awaiting the [IndyCar] schedule,” Johnson stated immediately. “I’m pushing behind the scenes to Jay Frye [IndyCar president] and others to attempt to perceive what the schedule could be.
“I need to go to Le Mans. It will be an incredible expertise to go along with Hendrick and Motion Categorical and the best way this entire partnership works. However I feel a lot hinges on the schedule being launched to grasp if I can, and from the crew standpoint, what drivers can be on the high of their record.
“So, I’m grateful to have had just a few conversations with them and I do know that there’s curiosity. I definitely have a ton of curiosity to do it. We’re simply ready for that first domino to fall… I really feel just like the curiosity is actually excessive on either side.”
NASCAR Subsequent Gen Chevrolet Camaro
Picture by: Donald Warr, AMS
Concerning his IMSA commitments for 2023, these potential schedule clashes are one subject for Johnson to contemplate, as is whether or not there’ll even be an ‘further’ Cadillac LMDh automobile obtainable for endurance rounds.
“I actually assume it’s schedule allowing after which the chance allowing,” stated Johnson. “There’s such a shakeup subsequent 12 months inside sports activities automobile racing, I’m undecided the mud is actually settled but to grasp the place alternatives would possibly lie.
“I feel within the subsequent month or two there will probably be extra readability for myself and for just a few others on the market as properly, because the sequence actually comes collectively and vehicles and seats and alternatives are on the market.”
Requested if it’s a case of automobile availability, he replied: “That’s undoubtedly a giant participant in it.”
With regards to his bond with principal sponsor Ally, Johnson described it as “rock stable.”
He continued: “We’re nonetheless on this part – whether or not it’s IndyCar or sportscar or every other concepts I’ve to go racing – persons are simply beginning to discuss choices. It’s normally finish of summer season, starting of fall when paper begins shifting round and other people want to ink stuff and get it accomplished.
“So, we’re early within the cycle and I’m definitely making an attempt to maintain my choices open, and I do know I’ve Ally’s assist on and off the observe no matter I select to do. I definitely hope it entails extra on-track.”
On the matter of whether or not he’s dedicated to IndyCar for 2023, Johnson responded, “Completely. What I’ve been doing has been a lot enjoyable and pleasant. I proceed to get higher and positively hope to do one thing related subsequent 12 months.”