January 31, 2023

3R Trail

Feel the difference

Through the archives: Hendrick Motorsports’ sports car racing lineage

Harmony, N.C. – The Hendrick Motorsports-created Garage 56 entry is not the organization’s initial entrance into the entire world of athletics car racing.

Relevant: Johnson honored to ‘shake down’ Garage 56 take a look at automobile

Whilst the team is most effective recognised for its series-greatest 14 NASCAR Cup Sequence championships and 291 wins in NASCAR’s major series, Hendrick Motorsports was also associated in sports motor vehicle racing for a temporary time in the 1980s. Shortly just after the organization began, Hendrick Motorsports partnered with Chevrolet’s Motorsports Technologies Group to deliver the Corvette Grand Tour Prototype (GTP) race auto. 

From 1985 to 1988, the Hendrick Motorsports Corvette GTP competed in the IMSA GT Sequence, IMSA’s best class. During that time, the motor vehicle won events at Road Atlanta and the West Palm Seashore avenue course (equally in 1986). In addition, the car took home 12 pole positions alongside the way. Doc Bundy and Sarel van der Merwe have been the successful motorists at Road Atlanta and West Palm Beach front and they ended up regulars in the No. 52. Other motorists to compete in a second GTP car included John Andretti, Michael Andretti, Bobby Rahal and others. 

Associated: Hendrick Motorsports’ ties to ‘Days of Thunder’ on display

Inside of the archives room, sit relics collected from individuals many years. One of individuals comes in the kind of the speediest qualifier award from the 1986 period finale at Daytona Worldwide Speedway. In that event, van der Merwe led the No. 52 entry to the top beginning location. 

Pole place award from the 1986 season finale at Daytona Global Speedway.

Yet another exciting piece of nostalgia within the archives is a die-solid replica of the Corvette GTP race auto. Versions of this specific car or truck are extremely tricky to obtain. Alongside the die-solid auto sit a number of hero playing cards that would have been handed out at the observe to supporters for the duration of the 1987 time. This apply even now proceeds now as each Hendrick Motorsports hauler has stacks of hero playing cards for their driver accessible to the community in the garage spot.

Die-cast motor vehicle and hero playing cards from the 1987 period.

The business is arranging to return to the sporting activities car ranks in 2023 for a unique celebration. In collaboration with NASCAR, Chevrolet, IMSA and Goodyear, Hendrick Motorsports intends to compete as a Garage 56 entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans. Garage 56 was released as a solitary-entry course for impressive automobiles. The system is to showcase the Up coming Gen car’s sports-motor vehicle chops and adaptability at the Circuit de le Sarthe.

As the business awaits its official invitation for the June 11-12 event, preparations are in whole swing with a Hendrick Motorsports-built test automobile logging laps at Virginia International Raceway and Carolina Motorsports Park in modern weeks. Mike Rockenfeller and seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson have participated in the exam periods. Hendrick Motorsports’ vice president of levels of competition Chad Knaus is overseeing the venture.

Shots: Garage 56 usually takes to observe for the most recent check

The archives serve as a reminder of the previous record that the storied corporation carries in the self-control. Whilst the Hendrick Motorsports Museum doesn’t not have this distinct auto on show, it does element a number of styles of Corvettes for followers to see. The museum is open up Monday as a result of Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET and delivers a distinctive appear at the heritage of the 14-time Cup Collection championship-profitable group.