Jimmie Johnson ‘pushing behind the scenes’ to race 24 Hours of Le Mans next year

Jimmie Johnson 2023 plans
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Jimmie Johnson still is “pushing behind the scenes” on plans to make his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut in 2023 with the Next Gen Camaro fielded by NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports.

The seven-time Cup Series champion said Tuesday morning he “eagerly” is awaiting confirmation of the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule, which is expected to have an open weekend to allow for crossover to the famous endurance race in France. Next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans will be held June 10-11, which will be two weeks after the 107th Indy 500.

“I want to go to Le Mans; it would be an amazing experience to go with Hendrick and Action Express and the way this whole partnership works,” Johnson said. “But I think so much really hinges on the (IndyCar) schedule being released to understand if I can, and also from a team standpoint, what drivers would be at the top of their list. So I’m thankful to have had a few conversations with them, and I know that there’s interest. I certainly have a ton of interest to do it. We’re just still waiting for that first domino to fall.

“I feel like the interest is really high on both sides. We haven’t been able to talk anything more formal because the schedule’s not out.”

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Since announcing the project in March, team owner Rick Hendrick prominently has mentioned Johnson as a prime candidate for the expected Garage 56 entry at Le Mans next year.

The program will be overseen by Hendrick vice president of motorsports Chad Knaus, and the crew chief for Johnson’s seven Cup titles also attended this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans two weeks ago. The race drew several executives from IMSA, Chevrolet and Hendrick (including Chief Operating Officer Jeff Gordon, who also is on Hendrick’s list of potential drivers) for meetings about the Garage 56 entry, which IMSA president John Doonan told NBC Sports will be approved in January.

Johnson still is firming up his racing schedule for 2023, but he hopes it will include the same lineup as this year – a full IndyCar season and an endurance race schedule in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series. Last month ahead of his Indy 500 debut, Johnson said it probably would be a few months before he would know more about the possible return of sponsor Carvana with his No. 48 Dallara-Honda in IndyCar.

With the premier prototype DPi class being replaced with the new LMDh platform in the rebranded GTP category next year, there is some question about whether there will be enough chassis available for part-time programs such as the No. 48 Ally Cadillac that has been fielded for Johnson by Action Express the past two years.

“I really think it’s schedule-permitting, opportunity-permitting,” Johnson said. “There’s such a shake-up next year within sports car racing, I’m not sure the dust has really settled yet to understand where opportunities might lie. I still think in the next month or two, there’ll be more clarity for myself and a few others out there. Just as this series really comes together and we know cars and seats and opportunities that are out there.”

Johnson quashed a recent report that he might be considering ovals only in IndyCar next year.

“I’m not sure where that has come from; it has not been in any discussions I’ve had or thought processes I’ve had,” said Johnson, who is in his first full IndyCar season after running road and street courses in 2021. “What I’ve been doing has been so much fun and enjoyable. Continue to get better. Certainly hope to do something similar again next year.”

“I’m not sure where that has come from; it has not been in any discussions I’ve had or thought processes I’ve had,” said Johnson, who is in his first full IndyCar season after running road and street courses in 2021. “What I’ve been doing has been so much fun and enjoyable. Continue to get better. Certainly hope to do something similar again next year.”

Chad Knaus talks with Jimmie Johnson and Kamui Kobayashi before the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January (Brett Farmer/IMSA).

After a three-month break, Johnson will be racing the No. 48 Ally Cadillac at Watkins Glen International this weekend with teammates Mike Rockenfeller and Kamui Kobayashi.

The trio last raced together in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, where an overnight crash ended their bid at a victory. Because of the IndyCar race at Texas Motor Speedway, Johnson missed the car’s last start at Sebring International Raceway, (where the No. 48 finished sixth with Kobayashi, Rockenfeller and Jose Maria Lopez).

Though Kobayashi has strong ties to Toyota (as the manager of its World Endurance Championship team), Johnson is hoping to remain teamed in IMSA with Rockenfeller and Kobayashi because they’re “two just great human beings and great guys to be around.

“I really don’t have a good sense of things,” Johnson said. “I feel like Action has been able to help Kamui navigate through the Toyota conflict, and we’ve been able to do it for a few years, so I feel confident if there’s an opportunity, we would be able to figure it out. Rocky’s schedule is a little more open. I know all of us want to stay together, and I feel like behind the scenes, the political pieces, we could get that organized. It’s just really about cars being available to drive. It’s still unclear. I think we’ll have a better idea in the next month or so what opportunities might be there.”

Johnson also is confident of being able to retain Ally, which also sponsored him in the Cup Series and remains the primary backer of Alex Bowman with the No. 48 of Hendrick (which supplies Knaus and other team members to Action Express’ Michelin Endurance Cup entry).

“The relationship with (Ally) is rock solid,” Johnson said. “We’re still in this phase with IndyCar, sports car or any other ideas I have to go racing. Everything right now is people are just starting to talk about options. It’s usually end of summer, beginning of fall when paper starts moving around and people are looking to ink stuff and get it done. We’re just early in the cycle, and I’m certainly trying to keep my options open.”

IndyCar results, points after Detroit Grand Prix


DETROIT — Alex Palou topped the results of an NTT IndyCar Series race for the second time this season, extending his championship points lead with his victory in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver, who also won the GMR Grand Prix (and the Indy 500 pole position) last month, holds a 51-point lead over teammate Marcus Ericsson (ninth at Detroit) through seven of 17 races this season.

Ganassi, which placed all four of its drivers in the top 10 at Detroit, has three of the top four in the championship standings with Scott Dixon ranked fourth after a fourth at Detroit.

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Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden is third in the standings after taking a 10th at Detroit. Pato O’Ward slipped to fifth in the points after crashing and finishing 26th

Here are the IndyCar results and points standings after the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix:


Click here for the official box score from the 100-lap race on a nine-turn, 1.645-mile street course in downtown Detroit.

Lap leader summary

Full lap chart

Best section times

Full section data

Event summary

Pit stop summary

Here is the finishing order in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix with starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (1) Alex Palou, Honda, 100, Running
2. (7) Will Power, Chevrolet, 100, Running
3. (9) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 100, Running
4. (4) Scott Dixon, Honda, 100, Running
5. (13) Alexander Rossi, Chevrolet, 100, Running
6. (12) Kyle Kirkwood, Honda, 100, Running
7. (2) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 100, Running
8. (11) Marcus Armstrong, Honda, 100, Running
9. (6) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 100, Running
10. (5) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 100, Running
11. (24) Colton Herta, Honda, 100, Running
12. (17) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 100, Running
13. (8) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 100, Running
14. (20) Agustin Canapino, Chevrolet, 100, Running
15. (15) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 100, Running
16. (18) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 100, Running
17. (25) Jack Harvey, Honda, 100, Running
18. (14) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 100, Running
19. (23) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 100, Running
20. (19) Benjamin Pedersen, Chevrolet, 97, Running
21. (22) Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 97, Running
22. (26) Sting Ray Robb, Honda, 97, Running
23. (21) David Malukas, Honda, 85, Contact
24. (3) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 80, Contact
25. (27) Graham Rahal, Honda, 50, Contact
26. (10) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 41, Contact
27. (16) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 1, Contact

Winner’s average speed: 80.922 mph; Time of Race: 02:01:58.1171; Margin of victory: 1.1843 seconds; Cautions: 7 for 32 laps; Lead changes: 10 among seven drivers. Lap Leaders: Palou 1-28; Power 29-33; O’Ward 34; Palou 35-55; Power 56-64; Palou 65; Rossi 66; Newgarden 67-68; Kirkwood 69; Ericsson 70-76; Palou 77-100.


Click here for the points tally in the race.

Here are the points standings after the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix:



Engine manufacturers

Pit stop performance

Top 10 in points: Palou 273, Ericsson 222, Newgarden 203, Dixon 194, O’Ward 191, Rossi 176, McLaughlin 175, Power 172, Herta 149, Rosenqvist 148.

Rest of the standings: Grosjean 145, Kirkwood 142, Lundgaard 136, Ilott 116, VeeKay 108, Ferrucci 105, Armstrong 101, Rahal 99, Malukas 91, Daly 88, DeFrancesco 81, Castroneves 80, Harvey 78, Canapino 77, Pagenaud 72, Pedersen 61, Robb 55, Takuma Sato 37, Ed Carpenter 27, Ryan Hunter-Reay 20, Tony Kanaan 18, Marco Andretti 13, RC Enerson 5, Katherine Legge 5.

Next race: IndyCar will head to Road America for the Sonsio Grand Prix, which will take place June 18 with coverage starting at 1 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock.