#48 Ally Cadillac returns for 2022 Endurance Cup

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Credit: Richard Dole/LAT Images

The #48 Ally Racing Cadillac will return to IMSA in 2022. On Tuesday, Action Express Racing announced the entry will run next year’s four Michelin Endurance Cup races—the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona on 29/30 January, Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring (19 March), Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen (26 June), and Motul Petit Le Mans (1 October)—with Jimmie Johnson, Kamui Kobayashi, and Mike Rockenfeller once again in the roster. Former touring car star José María López will join the trio.

Upon Johnson’s retirement from a decorated NASCAR Cup Series career at the end of 2020, he made the jump to IMSA in addition to a part-time NTT IndyCar Series schedule with plans to run the latter’s full slate in 2022. As part of his itinerary in the former, he and NASCAR sponsor Ally ran the 2021 Rolex 24 with Kobayashi, Rockenfeller, and fellow IndyCar driver Simon Pagenaud. Rockenfeller is the 2013 DTM champion with overall triumphs in the 2010 24 Hours of Daytona and Le Mans, while ex-Formula One racer Kobayashi has enjoyed tremendous success in the FIA World Endurance Championship and won the Rolex 24’s overall in 2019 and 2020. In Johnson’s first Rolex 24 since 2011, he spent less time in the car than his team-mates, but the quartet finished runner-up overall.

At Sebring, the #48 received a penalty after one of Pagenaud’s stints ran over the four-hour time limit, resulting in a last-place finish in the DPi class. The penalty spoiled what had been a tumultuous day for Johnson, who rebounded from a spin-filled weekend to take the lead.

Watkins Glen, where Johnson is perhaps more recognised for flying into the styrofoam barriers in a 2000 NASCAR Xfinity Series race, saw the #48 finish fifth. Rockenfeller did not race with the team at The Glen or Petit Le Mans. The latter, held at Road Atlanta, ended with a fourth-place finish.

Pagenaud departs the team as he will likely race for Meyer Shank Racing, whom he joins in IndyCar. In his place, AXR has enlisted López, the FIA World Touring Car Champion from 2014 to 2016 and 2019/20 World Endurance Champion for Toyota Gazoo Racing alongside Kobayashi. López has never raced in the Rolex 24, while he ran the 2007 12 Hours of Sebring in the GT2 class.

Hendrick Motorsports will once again partner with AXR to field the car. Johnson won seven Cup championships with HMS, who provided assistance to the #48 Cadillac with a pit crew (who viewed servicing a sports car as preparation for the Cup Series’ Next Gen car in 2022) and leadership such as his former crew chief and current HMS vice president Chad Knaus.

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