NASCAR engineers involved with the Garage 56 project that sent a Next Gen-based stock car to the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year have won the Dino Toso Racecar Aerodynamicist of the Year award for their innovations in the field of motorsports.
The honor was presented last week during the Race Tech World Motorsport Symposium at the Embassy of Switzerland in London. On hand to receive the award were Dr. Eric Jacuzzi, NASCAR Vice President of Vehicle Performance, and Brandon Thomas, NASCAR VP of Vehicle Design. Both NASCAR officials were panelists at the annual conference, discussing the development of the Garage 56 entry.
Among the other finalists for the award were the Formula 1 champion Oracle Red Bull Racing team and Scuderia Ferrari, which won Le Mans with its new 499P Hypercar. A global panel of industry experts served as judges for the award, which was first presented in 2005 and is named for the late Dino Toso — a two-time honoree for his work with the Renault F1 team.
The Garage 56 initiative successfully competed in the 100th-anniversary running of the 24-hour classic June 10-11 in France. The project was a collaborative effort among NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet and Goodyear to produce a modified Chevy Camaro ZL1 built for the rigors of the endurance event. Those modifications included specially designed aerodynamic components to make the NASCAR Cup Series’ Next Gen platform competitive in an international field of sports cars on the 8.467-mile Circuit de la Sarthe.
The Garage 56 entry — which was entered into the race’s official results but was ineligible for a class or overall victory in the single-entry “Innovative Car” classification — completed 2,413 miles in the event with an all-star rotation of Jenson Button, Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller splitting driver duties.