Jimmie Johnson grateful to the NASCAR Garage 56 team for a “once in a lifetime experience”

Le Mans 24 Hour Race
Jimmie Johnson in the Le Mans 24 Hours Race (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson recently accomplished his bucket list item, as he completed the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the Garage 56 team. Johnson, along with Jenson Button and Mike Rockenfeller, got the opportunity to represent the series in one of the world's most prestigious races.

Starting the 24 Hours race 39th on the grid, the #24 Garage 56 Chevrolet Camaro finished the race in the same position, as the rest of the 62 entrants retired from the race. The NASCAR entry was a monumental success as the next-gen car was quicker than the entire LM GTE Am class.

The drivers battled the turbulent weather conditions throughout the race, while the team fixed a critical drive line issue to let Jimmie Johnson take the checkered flag. This brought an end to NASCAR's ambitious Le Mans project, which was made possible by Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet, and Goodyear.

Johnson, a former HMS driver, thanked the entire Garage 56 team, as he penned a note expressing his gratitude for the team. His post on Instagram was captioned:

"A huge thank you to everyone involved with the @nascarg56 program. So many amazing memories were made, it was truly a once in a life time experience."

Since his retirement from full-time NASCAR schedule in 2020, Jimmie Johnson has dabbled in various racing categories. After spending two years in IndyCar and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Johnson has taken on fresh challenges in 2023.

Aside from racing in Le Mans, the seven-time Cup Series champion entered this year as the co-owner of the Legacy Motor Club team and decided to run a part-time schedule driving the #84 car.

Johnson's form and the team's results haven't been impressive but the ambitious project is set to undergo a major overhaul, switching its manufacturer alliance to Toyota next year. After accomplishing a major milestone this year, Johnson will remain busy in the coming months.

What's next for Jimmie Johnson?

Jimmie Johnson at the Le Mans 24 Hours Race
Jimmie Johnson at the Le Mans 24 Hours Race

After a successful venture in Europe this year, Jimmie Johnson is up for more Le Mans starts in the future. Johnson expressed his wish to continue racing on the Circuit de la Sarthe in the coming years.

His comments made before the race are backed by his statements after the race, where he said:

"I wish we could come back and do it again. This moment, like with everybody, I hate that it is over.
"Like, I hate that. We had such a good time. I hope to come back without a doubt and do this race again."

The seven-time NASCAR champion's return to the series might materialize in a different fashion next time out. After participating in the experimental category this year, Johnson will likely make his competitive debut in the coming years.

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Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee