The NASCAR Le Mans Inventory Automotive Seems Large In comparison with European Racers Throughout Testing
Maybe things really are bigger in America?
A Hendrick Motorsports stock car driven by Jimmie Johnson, Jenson Button, and Mike Rockenfeller is set to race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans this coming weekend. And you won’t have any trouble spotting it: Based on photos from the first day of testing, the vehicle looks like it’s going to stick out like a sore thumb.
Newswire photos from this past Sunday (which were spotted by the Drive) show the Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 circling Circuit de la Sarthe for the first time. One thing that’s impossible to miss is how much bigger the American-made stock car is than the other vehicles on the track, especially LMDh prototype racers. Sure, there are definitely some tricks of perspective going on, but it’s also absolutely massive. Sport prototypes such as the new Ferrari 499P and Porsche 963 are actually longer than the NASCAR racer (which has a length of 195.4 inches and width of 78.6 inches), but they can’t compete with its height (a relatively sky-high 50.4 inches) and overall bulk.
The Hendrick Motorsports Camaro will be this year’s Garage 56 entry. The car has been built to NASCAR’s current Next Gen specs but has been modified so that it can better perform during (and hopefully complete) the 24-hour-long race. The Garage 56 program was set up by race organizer the Automobile Club l’Ouest to add some variety to the event by including innovative vehicles that compete outside the rankings. It will also be the third NASCAR stock car to appear at Le Mans, with the other two having been part of the grid in 1976.
The Camaro’s brutish figure might not be the only aspect of the vehicle that spectators notice on June 10 and 11. Based on the first day of testing, the stock car might also be able to hold its own against the rest of the field, according to Road & Track. The vehicle’s quickest lap time of 3:53.761 is faster than that put up by some cars built to the race’s GT and LMGTE-Am regulations.
Of course, the car is racing unclassified, which means that in the unlikely event it reaches the finish line before everyone else, it won’t get credit for the win. Still, if the car were to beat the entire field this weekend, we have a feeling Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR, and Chevy will brag nonetheless.
Source: Robb Report