Jimmie Johnson has signed a two-year deal to race in the NTT IndyCar Series for Chip Ganassi Racing.
The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion is in his final full-time season in that division and has completed a test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course with Ganassi in July.
Johnson, 45, will race at least 15 races per season according to an Associated Press report. That slate will include the full road and street schedule although Johnson has said in recent months that he would consider the Indianapolis 500 as well.
“When I tested Chip’s Indy car earlier in the year, it only lit the fire more,” Johnson said in a press release. “I found that I wanted to do it more than ever before. Scott [Dixon] was just incredible to work with and in a short time I found out very quickly why Chip and his teams have won 12 IndyCar Championships.
“As part of a natural progression, I wanted to publicly show the alignment with Chip Ganassi Racing to kick the sponsorship program into high gear. The goal is to run the full road and street program and today is a very important first step in accomplishing that goal.”
The next step is landing a sponsorship package. Johnson has said he’s began conversations but nothing is official yet. He has only had two partners throughout his Cup Series career – Lowe’s Home Improvement and Ally banking.
If Johnson were to become a teammate of Dixon, a five-time IndyCar champion, the duo would enter next season with a combined 12 championships and 133 wins across their respective disciplines.
As Chip Ganassi often tweets, #ILikeWinners.
“It is always difficult to find great drivers but for them to be great guys too makes it even that much more challenging,” Ganassi said. “To pair Jimmie with the likes of Scott Dixon is quite an opportunity. They are truly in rarified air and I think everyone knows by now that ‘I like winners’.
“The goal right now is for us to run Jimmie in an Indy car for at least the next couple of seasons, and we want to show people we’re serious about the program. We felt it was important to get the partnership done and start putting the financial building blocks in place to make this a reality. Jimmie’s record speaks for itself and we feel a championship-level driver of his caliber can only make our team better.”
Johnson had discussed opportunities with other teams, including Arrow McLaren SP, who he was scheduled to test at Barber Motorsports Park with back in April before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The move also ends, for now, Johnson’s relationship with Chevrolet as Ganassi fields Hondas in IndyCar. Should Johnson and Ganassi enter any NASCAR events, the NASCAR program continues to be Chevrolet supported.
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