Jenson Button takes in first laps of Le Mans in Garage 56 NASCAR entry

Henry Valantine
Jenson Button drives in Le Mans testing. Circuit de la Sarthe June 2023.

Jenson Button drives the NASCAR Garage 56 entry at Le Mans. June 2023.

Jenson Button took a roaring NASCAR V8 around the Circuit de la Sarthe for the first time ahead of his Garage 56 Le Mans entry this weekend.

The 2009 Formula 1 World Champion has formed an all-star line-up with NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson and previous Le Mans winner Mike Rockenfeller to take part in the Centenary running of the world-famous endurance race this Sunday.

Button joked that he “was on the way to Disneyland and took the wrong road” when the announcement was made that a NASCAR machine would be making up the Garage 56 entry this year – which is reserved at Le Mans every year to showcase the “technology of tomorrow and beyond”, while not competing in an official class.

NASCAR have been looking to put the series on a global stage, and what better way to do so than introduce a stock car into the World Endurance Championship’s flagship event?

The testing day at the Circuit de la Sarthe proved that the modified Next Gen Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was more than a match for its competitors too, with its quickest time on the day actually being 2.3 seconds faster than the quickest LMGTE Am car – its most likely challenger in the field.

After testing was complete, 2009 World Champion Button wrote on Twitter: “Well that was a fun day of testing here @24heuresdumans. How cool does the @nascarg56 look?! She’s fast too, oh and I forgot big!!”

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This will not be Button’s first entry in the legendary 24-hour race, with the former McLaren and Honda driver having raced in the LMP1 class back in 2018 alongside former Renault driver Vitaly Petrov, though they unfortunately retired late on in the race.

Elsewhere in testing, the #51 Ferrari of Antonio Giovinazzi was fastest in the Hypercar class on the day, while Haas reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi’s Jota team were fastest in LMP2.

Qualifying for the 24 Hours of Le Mans will take place on Wednesday evening, with Hyperpole following on Thursday evening around the Circuit de la Sarthe.