Jimmie Johnson to IndyCar with Ganassi for two-year program

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson is aiming to make the switch to IndyCar in 2021, and has announced he has joined forces with Chip Ganassi Racing.

Jimmie Johnson to IndyCar with Ganassi for two-year program
Jimmie Johnson, Chip Ganassi
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda and Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie Johnson, Chip Ganassi
Jimmie Johnson, Chip Ganassi
Jimmie Johnson, Chip Ganassi
Jimmie Johnson, Chip Ganassi
Jimmie Johnson, Chip Ganassi
Jimmie Johnson, Chip Ganassi
Jimmie Johnson with Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi

Johnson, who turns 45 this month, has raced full-time in NASCAR since 2002 and has become one the sport's most successful drivers with 83 wins and a record-tying seven championships. 

But following the 2020 season, he will take on a new challenge in the NTT IndyCar Series. He will team up with Chip Ganassi Racing to "officially explore the possibility of racing a full road and street course calendar in the NTT IndyCar Series for the 2021 and 2022 racing seasons," according to today's statement.

The team is still working to finalize sponsorship details. 

Ganassi also fields two cars in the Cup Series, opening up the possibility that Johnson could run select NASCAR races in a third entry next year as well.

Johnson attended pre-season testing at the Circuit of The Americas in February and in July, he tested a CGR-Honda on the Indianapolis road course. He tweeted afterwards: “Today was incredible. Sign me up for more!”

Johnson and Scott Dixon are the most successful active drivers in their respective disciplines and Dixon had nothing but praise for Johnson following the test session.

“Tough conditions, really low grip, and obviously very hot today [87degF ambient, up to 135degF track temperature] but it gives him a good feel of what the car’s like and through the course of the day it’s been a lot of fun just to kind of talk back and forth about what things are different for him, what are quite similar in driving style. And a lot of video to go through because what he typically does is so different from what we do.

“He’s honestly been a very good listener and very able at replicating video which is not always very easy to do. So he sees something in the data or on the video and he’s actually able to replicate it which is pretty cool. So it’s been good.”

The team’s managing director Mike Hull was also present for the test and was impressed with Johnson's showing.

Although the NASCAR veteran doesn't have much experience in open-wheel cars, he has shown a keen interest in getting more seat time. In 2018, he participated in a McLaren Formula 1 car ride swap with Fernando Alonso at Bahrain International Circuit.

Johnson released the following video on social media Wednesday, announcing his plans and saying, "This is what I want to do in 2021 and 2022."

 

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