Hendrick Motorsports’ partnership with Action Express Racing to field a car in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is unlikely to return as star driver Jimmie Johnson has moved to align himself with rival manufacturer Toyota in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Chad Knaus, Vice President of Competition for the 16-time Cup Series championship winners, indicated that the new partnership between Johnson’s Legacy Motor Club team and the Japanese manufacturer meant his time driving GM machinery “may be about over with.”
Johnson was an integral part of Hendrick’s partnership with AXR as the two organizations teamed up to field a Cadillac DPi-V.R. for the Michelin Endurance Cup rounds in 2021-22.
The seven-time Cup Series champion is set to align himself with Toyota due to his involvement with the Legacy Motor Club organization.
Johnson has been running a part-time schedule with the team as co-owner in Chevrolet machinery this year, but the operation announced a partnership with Toyota beginning in 2024.
Knaus told Sportscar365 that Johnson’s move away from Chevrolet makes a return for a potential Hendrick-AXR partnership in the WeatherTech Championship’s GTP category unlikely.
“I’d have to say probably not with Jimmie driving Toyota [next year],” said Knaus. “I think his time in the Chevrolet may be about over with.
“He’s jumped over to the Toyota crowd, so we’d have to assume that he probably wouldn’t a drive GM [car]. But who knows? You never know.”
Team owner Rick Hendrick previously told Sportscar365 that he holds an interest in sports car racing, but that the team has no immediate plans to expand outside of its NASCAR operation.
Knaus said something similar when asked about any new ambitions, adopting a wait and see approach.
“We are always interested in things at Hendrick Motorsports to continue to expand our brand,” he said. “Racing is part of what we do, it’s in our blood. We sell cars for a living and we manufacture parts and build fast race cars.
“So we’ll just have to see. [We] don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Garage 56 Car Set for Goodwood FoS Demo Run
Knaus said that the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 that contested the 24 Hours of Le Mans will likely be retired from competition.
He downplayed the possibility of the car potentially running competitively elsewhere, instead indicating that the car will be brought to a number of international car events.
While having been on hand for the Brands Hatch American SpeedFest event last weekend, Knaus indicated that the car is also likely to attend the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July.
“We’ve got a primary car and a backup car completed,” he explained. “I think both of these cars are going to be pretty iconic. I think they’re going to take their time and go to the rest home after this.
“We may go to Goodwood with one of the cars and run there, which I think will be great. I’m sure we’ll do some very cool car shows and things of that nature.”