Many thought seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson would take a break from racing before his IndyCar stint. But participation in the much-renowned Rolex 24 at Daytona event was always on the cards for him.
The marquee event, set to take place at the Daytona in late January, has a rich history attached to it. Johnson will partner three other drivers at Action Express Racing for the competition.
The lineup consists of Kamui Kobayashi, Simon Pagenaud, and Mike Rockenfeller. But how did this dream team exactly come together? Johnson briefly spoke about the details.
Johnson stated, “You can look down a sheet of paper and pick fast guys and you can think like, yup this guy’s fast, that guy’s fast and come up with a list and pick your four.”
“But I watched them take their time and be very methodical about how we would all fit together. And then of course you have to meet all these other criteria to be on the short list, but long story short, they were very intentional about us four together,” he added.
Johnson admits that his participation in the Rolex 24 event was confirmed only in November. Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick worked in close collaboration with Jim France and put together this star-studded lineup.
“And I think that’s why we feel the possibility is there and that we do truly have an opportunity to compete for the win,” concluded Johnson on the topic.
Aside from Johnson, renowned for his seven Cup Series titles, Pagenaud is known for his talent in IndyCar racing. Kobayashi is a former F1 driver and also possesses experience in the Rolex 24 event. He has won the crown in the last two editions.
Rockenfeller holds special expertise in the touring car series, earning many accolades.
Therefore, it is completely logical to see why this team will start as the favorites. Without a shred of doubt, Johnson will embrace the challenge.