Garage 56 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 NASCAR Racing Le Mans Is a Total Beast
The differences are subtle, but here’s how you prep a NASCAR to race 24 hours across an ocean.
We’ve been following Garage 56’s NASCAR entry into this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans closely because well, NASCAR meets Le Mans. It’s the best Franco-American collab we can think of this side of French fries. If you haven’t been following, now’s the time, and here’s the best reason why. On Friday, Garage 56 showed off the livery for its Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 entry and detailed how the Le Mans car, driven by Jenson Button, Jimmie Johnson, and Mike Rockenfeller, is different than what you’ll see this weekend at the Daytona 500.
From the cheap seats, the Garage 56 entry doesn’t look too different than a normal Cup Series car, but under the skin there is a multitude of changes. For starters, the Garage 56 car is about 500 pounds lighter than the Next Gen Car, 2,960 pounds versus 3,485 pounds. That weight savings is despite having a larger fuel cell, 32 gallons compared to 20 gallons, functional lights, and extra aero such as dive planes, rear canards, and a spoiler that’s taller by 2 inches.
The Garage 56 car is powered by a 5.8-liter Chevrolet R07 cast iron small block mated to a 5-speed sequential transaxle with paddle shifters—Cup cars skip the paddles. The Garage 56 car has working headlights and taillights too, compared to the appliques used for NASCAR races. The Garage 56 rides atop Goodyear Eagle tires developed specifically for the race—left and right turns, y’know—with carbon brakes behind them.
The Garage 56 entry is an exhibition class, which means the car won’t be vying for podium spots but will still have a scored position. If you’re wondering, stock cars have run Le Mans before, but it’s been about 50 years since the last time one appeared. Although the changes to this car mean that it’s different than what’s racing at Daytona, the Garage 56 entry is still very much, at its core, a Cup car racing at world endurance racing’s premier event. Neat.
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