Hamlin, three-time winner of the Daytona 500 and top contender for this year’s Cup title, made the announcement on social media. The team will be a Toyota entry with a car, aligned with Joe Gibbs Racing.
“Eleven years ago, I met Michael Jordan in a Charlotte Bobcats game and we became fast friends,” Hamlin wrote. “A little later, I joined Jordan Brand as the first NASCAR athlete. Our friendship has grown over the years and now we are ready to take it to the next level.
“The decision about the driver was easy – it had to be Bubba Wallace.”
Hamlin said there will be additional details. Wallace is the only Black driver at the top of NASCAR.
There have been speculations for months that Hamlin organized some kind of ownership, as he expects NASCAR’s business model to become more favorable to team owners when the Next Gen car is released in 2022. NASCAR rules forbid a current driver from owning one team and leading for another, but Hamlin works around politics with Jordan as the lead owner.
Jordan became part of the Bobcats in 2006 and bought the team outright in 2010, restoring the franchise to its original Hornets name. Hamlin has been a ticket holder for a long time with seats on the pitch along the visitors’ bench.
Jordan has traveled twice to the final of the NASCAR season to watch Hamlin fight for the championship. Hamlin, 39, is still looking for his first title.
Wallace, who has raised about $ 18 million in sponsorship bids since making social equality his platform, has already said he will leave Richard Petty Motorsports at the end of the season.
“This is a unique opportunity, once in a lifetime, that I think fits in perfectly with this point in my career,” Wallace wrote in a social media post coordinated with Hamlin’s.
“I am grateful and humble that they believe in me and I am super drawn to start this adventure with them.”