NASCAR Garage 56 Wins Le Mans Pit Stop Challenge With a Floor Jack

le mans, france june 06 the pit crew of the 24 nascar next gen chevrolet zl1 practice pit stops prior to the 100th anniversary of the 24 hours of le mans at the circuit de la sarthe june 5, 2023 in le mans, france on june 06, 2023 in le mans, france photo by chris graythengetty images
G56 Wins Le Mans Pit-Stop ChallengeChris Graythen - Getty Images

In the run-up to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, teams compete in a pit-stop challenge to see who can change four tires quickest. NASCAR's Garage 56 effort—which won hearts and minds with a stunning showing in Sunday practice—just beat all the GTE teams with a time of 10.634 seconds. And unlike any of the GTE teams, the Hendrick Motorsports crew had to use a floor jack.

Modern sports-racing cars have built-in pneumatic jacks, so teams don't have to raise the car up manually. NASCAR stock cars don't have built-in jacks; they need someone to get a floor jack in just the right spot and lift the car up at the exact right moment. The coordination between jack operators and tire changers is something top NASCAR teams, like Hendrick, practice intensely. so it's no wonder that the Garage 56 crew put on such an impressive display in the pits at Le Mans.

It's also the second way in which the Garage 56 car is faster than its GTE rivals. With a best lap of 3:53.761 in testing, the Camaro stock car is over two seconds quicker than the GTE field. Whether or not that advantage will remain in qualifying and the race is a question, but there's no doubt that this is a serious effort. The image of a stock car running around La Sarthe among the world's best prototypes is a funny one, but the Garage 56 crew—including drivers Jimmie Johnson, Jenson Button, and Mike Rockenfeller—is not messing around. They may be competing in an exhibition category of one, but they're competing all the same.

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