24 Hours of Le MansNASCAR Cup Series

NASCAR Garage 56 Camaro revealed

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Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

On Friday, NASCAR formally unveiled the Next Gen Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 that will contest the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June as a Garage 56 entry driven by Jenson Button, Jimmie Johnson, and Mike Rockenfeller. While it boasts many similarities to the standard competition version, partly aided by the seventh-generation Cup Series vehicle already being more fit for road racing than its predecessors, there are still a variety of differences that sets it apart.

“From the beginning of this project, it was important to us that the car we bring to Le Mans is a true NASCAR stock car,” stated NASCAR head Jim France. “While there have been some adjustments to allow the car to compete in a 24-hour endurance race, fans in Le Mans will be treated to the full NASCAR experience.”

The Garage 56 Camaro is slightly longer at 4,961 mm versus the regular’s 4,912.36, but is also lighter at 1,342 kg to 1,580. Also increasing in size is the fuel cell, which can hold 127 litres compared to the standard car’s 75 L, in order to accommodate the race length.

While the Next Gen’s rear spoiler sits at four inches (10.16 cm), the Garage 56’s is two inches larger at 15.24 cm. NASCAR has experimented with varying spoiler lengths throughout the later years of the Gen-6 car, with popular opinion swaying towards shorter wings; a six-inch spoiler was originally planned for 2022 before dropping to the current four inches to increase horsepower.

Inside the cockpit, the car operates on a five-speed paddle shift sequential rather than the usual manual sequential. Sequential transmissions are a new feature of the Next Gen as the sport has long utilised H-shaped gearboxes, though drivers are still required to take their hands off the steering wheel to shift.

Other differences are intended to comply with ACO regulations or meet the race’s demands such as the addition of headlights.

Curiously, the car will still use a Chevrolet R07 cast iron small-block V8 like the competition edition rather than a hybrid. NASCAR did not immediately reveal details of hybridisation, which the ACO stressed was a major factor in approving the Garage 56 entry.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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