NASCAR’s Garage 56 entry at Le Mans has been highly anticipated by NASCAR fans, but it has also turned heads at the Circuit de la Sarthe this weekend. From the speed of the car, to the pit crew challenge, to the noise, Garage 56 has impressed immensely during Le Mans week. So much so that Chevy will even release a street car inspired by the Garage 56 entry.
According to the World Endurance Championship’s timing and scoring data, here is how NASCAR’s Garage 56 entry compares to other classes during Free Practice 1.
Hypercar (Class 1): 3:27.742
LMP2 (Class 2): 3:34.579
NASCAR Garage 56): 3:49.475
LM GTE Am (Class 3): 3:55.020
Obviously, the prototypes and hypercars ran quicker around Le Mans than the NASCAR car did, which is not a huge surprise. The surprise came from NASCAR outpacing the GTE Am class by 5.445 seconds. Did that continue into Qualifying Practice and Free Practice 2?
Hypercar (Class 1): 3:25.213; 3:28.878
LMP2 (Class 2): 3:34.751; 3:36.863
NASCAR Garage 56: 3:47.976; 3:51.904
LM GTE Am (Class 3): 3:51.877; 3:53.796
Garage 56 continues to be significantly quicker than the GTE Am class. However, the gap did narrow some into Free Practice 2. This is certainly turning some heads at Le Mans. Regardless, NASCAR is holding its’ own, even though the car will be racing in a class by itself.
The Pit Crew Challenge
NASCAR competed against other GTE teams in the Le Mans Pit Stop Challenge. And the NASCAR pit crew went on to win the competition. MAVTV also reported that NASCAR was the only pit crew working with a manual jack.
This is an accomplishment that can be highly credited to the new center locking lug nuts on the Next-Gen car. Would NASCAR have been able to compete this well with the traditional lug nuts? Probably not as the pit stop would take significantly longer.
This further puts NASCAR more in line with modern auto racing and modern racing technology. That seems to be a primary focus of Garage 56 aside from just showcasing and promoting the sport. NASCAR seems like they want to show that their cars can compete with these cutting edge models being showcased at places like Le Mans.
People who have been at the track this week have made numerous comments regarding the noise of NASCAR’s Garage 56 entry. Gassomaniac called it one of the loudest cars he has heard.
In that clip, it is pretty incredible to hear the sound of the NASCAR Garage 56 entry compared to the other cars running around the track. Fans of NASCAR are used to this kind of sound, but it is quite a shock to others.
Chevrolet Garage 56 Camaro
The car has been received so well by Chevrolet, that they will produce a special edition 2024 Chevy Camaro inspired by Garage 56. Chevrolet obviously had a lot of influence on this car, and it will be interesting to see if anything learned from this Garage 56 entry will be featured on Chevy’s special edition Camaro.
In the Stands
Fans have been eating up this Garage 56 entry on social media. Some coming from the United States and others that are WEC or Le Mans fans.
Josh Hamilton highlights all of the effort that went into Garage 56.
F1 photographer jameypricephoto says she gets “goosebumps” every time the car goes past.
Who ever thought a NASCAR Cup car would run along the mulsanne straight.
Something people never thought would be seen.
Garage 56 has turned some heads at Le Mans, and that is the exact intent that NASCAR had when designing it. The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, and that is a pretty incredible thing.