Nothing has been finalized, but Jimmie Johnson says he wants to continue with Chip Ganassi Racing in the No. 48 IndyCar next season and would welcome returning for the full 17-race schedule, if possible.
“I wish that things were in place already,” he said Friday morning in Portland. “You know, it’s clearly the way I think anyone in motorsports likes to operate. When I look back over announcements, and when things have come together for me, they’ve always been a little later in the year just due to my partners and their planning cycle and budget commitments cycle that takes place. So we’re working hard on it.
“I wish I had something to report right now. I truly love being a part of Chip Ganassi Racing and this entire group here. I love driving these cars and the tracks I have been on, so my intention is to is to keep going. So hopefully, we’ll get all that put together sooner than later.”
Johnson says he’d like to lighten his schedule next year, and with IMSA’s move to factory-level programs in its new GTP class, the opportunities to continue doing the longer endurance events in an extra car with Action Express Racing are slim. It’s here where a reduction in travel and a greater focus on IndyCar seems possible, but he would love to head to Le Mans in June to be part of the Chevy NASCAR Cup ZL1 Garage 56 program run by his former team in Hendrick Motorsports and former crew chief Chad Knaus.
“Now, I’m trying to try to look at everything; this year with IMSA and IndyCar, I’m at 21 races,” he said. “And I guess I did the race in Sweden, the Race of Champions event, and I’m going to Goodwood. So 25-ish races. I think 25 races is probably a little high for me. I want to trim that down next year and have a little more balance. But if I have a chance to go to Le Mans, my schedule is open. And especially the Garage 56 program and all of my friends that are involved. Yes. I would love to be there. I think we’re all eagerly awaiting the 2023 IndyCar schedule to see if the weekend’s open.”
The next order of business for Johnson is to finalize the sponsorship side of his IndyCar program, and if a full budget is secured, he’s aiming for doing the complete calendar.
“I’m open to really any combination of things and I’m just getting started,” he said. “Next year I really don’t think there’s a proper IMSA opportunity, so that would be a step in the right direction to scale it back to 17. So it is in that planning phase; I’m still looking at all options. I do want to go drive the Garage 56 car if the schedule is open. I want to go to Le Mans. I’ve always wanted to do that. So right now, everything’s on the table. And hopefully here in the coming weeks to months, I can get it all dialed in.”