Lots of things can happen in 24 Hours, especially at Le Mans when you get the idea of going around in circles at an insane pace on the big circuit. In order to prepare for its participation in the centenary edition as part of the Garage 56 program, the Team Hendrick Motorsports traveled to Sebring this past week to conduct an intense testing program. Spicy icing on the Floridian cake, the team had to face dantesque climatic conditions, a good preparation for the classic Le Mans which is often well watered.
— NASCARG56 (@nascarg56) December 20, 2022
For this third test session, the regular test driver, Mike Rockenfeller, was joined by the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion, Jimmie Johnson, who had already had the opportunity to shakedown the car at Carolina Motorsports Park. . Johnson’s commitment in June is therefore becoming more and more likely.
Chad Knaus, vice-president of the competition department of Hendrick Motorsports and Manager of the Garage 56 Le Mans project justified the choice of Sebring: “This track is really very difficult. When you’re trying to understand the complexity of entering a car in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, this is a perfect track to put the car through its paces. The bumpy surface can in particular provide information on points such as the reaction of the car on the many curbs of the Le Mans circuit. »
During the first day of testing, the two drivers were able to test for the first time the carbon brakes they will use at Le Mans, a real step forward according to them. Different compositions of Goodyear tires have also been tested in order to define a good balance between performance and endurance. A locking differential, quite useless on an oval but valuable on the road, was also tested in order to improve the car’s traction when exiting corners.
A 6 Hour endurance test was scheduled for the second day when torrential rains hit Sebring. Rockenfeller did try a few laps on intermediate tyres, but in the absence of rain tyres, the simulation had to be interrupted. These few laps on the wet track, however, enabled the team to gather valuable information in view of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
A few electronic Gremlins have come to disrupt the forward march of the beautiful American, but there are solutions to any problem. When the starter refused to start, the team decided to continue the tests by starting the car with the stroller! That’s what these endurance tests are for after all.
— NASCARG56 (@nascarg56) December 19, 2022
Direction Daytona now for the next test session where a 12-hour race simulation is on the program. From there to say that half of the way to the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be covered if this test is successful…
READ ALSO > Jimmie Johnson: « I want to go to Le Mans » with Garage 56 in 2023