Rockenfeller to make NASCAR debut at Watkins Glen

2010 Le Mans 24 Hours winner Mike Rockenfeller will make his NASCAR Cup Series debut this season at Watkins Glen.

Rockenfeller to make NASCAR debut at Watkins Glen

Spire Motorsports announced Rockenfeller will drive the team’s #77 Chevrolet in the Cup race at Watkins Glen on the 21st August and at Charlotte Roval on the 9th October.

The German will join former F1 stars Kimi Raikkonen and Daniil Kvyat on the NASCAR Cup grid at Watkins Glen later this month.

Rockenfeller, 38, has enjoyed a successful motorsports career spanning almost two decades, including teaming with seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson in the Daytona 24 Hours last year, having won the event in 2010.

“Since starting my professional racing career back in the early 2000s, I’ve always kept a close eye on NASCAR,” Rockenfeller, who also won the DTM title in 2013, said. “What's more, after teaming up with Jimmie Johnson – one of the heroes of the sport – my respect and appreciation for NASCAR has grown.

“It’s an immensely competitive series with some of the world’s greatest drivers racing wheel-to-wheel, merely centimetres apart. Room for error is minimal, at best. Watkins Glen is a difficult track in any car but given how sensitive and big a NASCAR Cup Series car is, I think this will be an even bigger challenge.”

Jimmie Johnson & Mike Rockenfeller

Jimmie Johnson & Mike Rockenfeller

Photo by: Richard Dole / Motorsport Images

Rockenfeller, who finished third overall on his Daytona 24 Hours debut back in 2004, underscored his versatility by recording consecutive top-three finishes for Chevrolet at the at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring from 2015 to 2019 in IMSA Sportscar Championship, plus in 2017 he scored the GTLM class victory with Corvette Racing at Sebring.

While Rockenfeller has yet to make laps at the Roval, his accomplishments at Watkins Glen include a third-place overall effort in the 2006 Six Hours at the Glen and a sixth place in 2022 for Action Express Racing where he shared the cockpit with Johnson and Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi.

“I've been fortunate to race LMP prototypes, DTM, and GTs, but now I’m ready to get my name out there in NASCAR,” he said. “This is a huge honour for me to be racing the #77 NationsGuard Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, and I want to say thank you to Spire Motorsports for giving me this opportunity to start a new chapter in my career.”

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“Mike is a talented, globally-accomplished driver and we’re thrilled to introduce him to NASCAR,” added team president Bill Anthony. “We’ve invested in getting Mike up to speed quickly through the Driver Familiarisation Test and our partners at Chevrolet have generously offered simulation time for him.

“Everyone at Spire Motorsports is motivated and committed to providing Mike with a great effort for Watkins Glen and the Charlotte Roval.”

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