Jimmie Johnson is done with NASCAR but is about to write a new IndyCar chapter in his motorsport career.
The seven-times tin-top champion is switching to open-wheelers and will spend at least the next two years driving on road and street courses for Chip Ganassi.
The new deal means he will become team mate to five-time IndyCar champion, Scott Dixon, who could easily add another title to his total in 2020.
Johnson had a test with Ganassi on the Indianapolis road course in July and admits it was the trigger for an extension of his racing career beyond NASCAR.
“When I tested Chip’s Indy car earlier in the year, it only lit the fire more. I found that I wanted to do it more than ever before,” said Johnson.
“Scott 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. The goal is to run the full road and street program.”
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The new move will see Johnson severing his long-term ties to Chevrolet, as Ganassi runs Honda engines in IndyCar, but there is no news yet on financial backing for his 2021 program.
Even so, team owner Chip Ganassi is clearly pumped.
“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,” he said.
“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.
“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.”