The year 2023 will be the 100th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and it was recently announced via a special press conference at Sebring, that Hendrick Motorsports will enter a NASCAR Next Gen Camaro ZL1 as the Garage 56 entry. The 24 Hours of Le Mans Garage 56 has always been a special invite from the Automobile Club L’Ouest (ACO) and features a car highlighting new technology and the car always competes in it’s own category. The Chevy Camaro ZL1 to be built will need to be highly modified from the NASCAR Next Gen Cup car as it will need to comply with the ACO rules for Le Mans and this will include amongst other things, functioning headlights, doors that actually open etc. The talk is that the car to be developed will feature some sort of hybrid drive technology and this was later confirmed by Pierre Fillon ACO President who attended the conference. NASCAR is moving towards hybrid engine technology and it is likely that the car to be developed will feature both a Chevrolet Performance race engine and a hybrid element powertrain developed by Chevrolet Performance.
Dallara have designed the Camaro ZL1 chassis for the NASCAR Next Gen Cup car and were featured as part of the signage for the press conference so it can be assumed they will be designing the 2023 Garage 56 Camaro ZL1 chassis for Hendrick Motorsports. The tires will be Goodyear as they too were present at the Press Conference, as were Jim Campbell – Chevrolet Performance and Motorsports VP, Jim France NASCAR CEO, Steve Phelps NASCAR President, IMSA President John Doonan, ACO President Pierre Fillon and Rick Hendrick CEO of Hendrick Motorsports.
In 2023 the new LMDh prototype cars will run in IMSA Competition and at Le Mans which will include the Cadillac with the chassis again built by Dallara. The engines will presumably be Chevrolet Performance engines as is the current 5.5-liter V8 in the current Cadillac DPi cars competing in IMSA.
Hopefully this will be a success and the car will be able to complete the 24 Hours and do so in a respectable way. Le Mans is however a cruel mistress and not to be approached lightly. We wish all involved good luck and we will be following the developments over the next 15 months with interest.