MOTORSPORT

24 Hours of Le Mans had a Peculiar Car Take the Spotlight.

Le Mans was full of wet conditions, spinning cars and a Nascar, well, car…

Jordan Schmidt
June 12, 2023
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24 Hours of Le Mans had a Peculiar Car Take the Spotlight.

 

 Le Mans is the most prestigious endurance race on the calendar. It is an event filled with mind-boggingly fast cars, chaotic pit stops and plenty of crashes. Despite there being 62 cars on track, one vehicle wholeheartedly captured the public's imagination. 

 

Nascar is determined to show the world that their cars are more capable than their basic race tracks would lead us to believe and to show their brutal racing ability on more intricate circuits. 

 

The car in question is no ordinary Nascar but the Garage 56 Variant. In other words, a highly-tuned version of the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. This new car is a look into the next generation of Nascar. It is highly modified from the previous generation of Nascars, but more importantly, it had to comply with Le Man's regulations which is where garage 56 comes into play.

 

Garage 56 is the name given to a unique spot on the Le Mans grid. Designed to promote innovation and motoring development, allowing unique and forward-thinking teams to test and compete with the latest racing technology and equipment.

 

This year the slot went to the team in charge of the project which produced this crazy Nascar Le Mans car. It is a collaboration between Nascar, Goodyear, Chevrolet and Hendricks Motorsports to show off and perfect the next generation of American racing cars.

 

This introduced the addition of headlights and taillights. The fuel tank size was increased from 83 litres to roughly 129 litres, and this modified Nascar went on a diet and shed 226 kg, bringing its weight to approximately 1,225 kg. New brakes were needed to handle the intricate track, so carbon brake discs were the call. Goodyear designed the tyres, and it also received a dedicated paddle-shifter gearbox. 

 

The stand-out part of this vehicle is not the lack of intricate aerodynamic details like a GT wing or front splitter; rather its size. It dwarfs the LMP cars and is a rather comical sight to see. 

 

Surprisingly, this new generation of American racing car was fast, consistently keeping up with the GT class leaders. This was a thrilling display for the patriotic nation, and the fans took to social media to express their excitement that their beloved race car was holding its own out on the track. 

 

Although it was slightly slower than the lighter and more nimble GT cars over track distance, it had the power to catch them in the straights. Overtaking at top speed is this car's speciality.

 

The individuals who piloted this controversial missile are a group of highly skilled drivers from different parts of the world. Jimmie Johnson, a seven-time Nascar Cup champion, who has extensive knowledge about Nascar racing. Jenson Button, a Formula One world champion, and Mike Rockenfeller, a Le Mans legend with six class titles, were also part of the team. 

Despite the cutting-edge new generation of Nascar and its speciality team, the world seems to be in love with the sound this monster produces. With a deep throaty rumble which overpowers nearly every car on the track, the crowd loved the experience of watching this car tear down the straights.

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