Jenson Button has been revealed as part of the driver lineup for the Garage 56 entry that brings NASCAR back to the Le Mans 24 Hours for its centenary race in June.
The 2009 Formula 1 world champion will join seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and 2010 Le Mans winner Mike Rockenfeller.
“It’s really special to be here," said Button. "I've always thought of myself as a racing driver and I looked for new challenges since my F1 career. To go to Le Mans, I’m very excited to work with an all-star team.
“[The deal came about] through Jimmie a long time ago, I was asking him what he was up to in 2023 because this guy can’t sit still. He was running through a few things he's hoping to do, and he said, I'm hoping to bring NASCAR to Le Mans. I was like, sorry, what?
“Then Rocky invited me to a test at Sebring, and it all started from there. I watched and listened to all the information, and all the steps forward they were making. Looking forward to driving the car on Tuesday.”
Johnson added: “When Rick [Hendrick] called I couldn’t resist the opportunity. It’s been a big dream of mine to experience Le Mans with this great group of drivers and this team, it’s really special.
“The design and intent is to take NASCAR to Le Mans, everyone in France is going to enjoy hearing this car roaring down the straightaways.
“It’s a huge honour to represent NASCAR and I have a huge history with the people involved. The car is different from the typically NASCAR vehicle, so it’s somewhere between a hybrid of a NASCAR and a prototype."
Rockenfeller said: "It's an incredible group of partners on this project. To be involved from day one is just a great honor, a lot of fun, and I can't wait now to share the car with these two especially-young teammates."
Garage 56 is the entry that the Automobile Club de l'Ouest sets aside for the “technology of tomorrow and beyond” of innovative machinery.
The entry – a modified version of the Next Gen Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 race car – is a collaboration of NASCAR, HMS, Chevrolet, IMSA, and Goodyear.
The project was first announced in March with the debut at the 2023 Le Mans 24 Hours an homage to NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., who first took stock cars to the French endurance classic almost half a century ago.
The initial test car used in August at Road Atlanta, which was built by IMSA team Action Express Racing, has been replaced by the Hendrick car that has been running since November, featuring revised chassis, engine, suspension and bodywork.
All three drivers will test the car at the Daytona road course on Tuesday. Jeff Gordon, who was expected to be part of the program, is said to have been "really good" with the decision for him not to be involved, according to Hendrick Motorsports' Jeff Andrews.