“With his knowledge and also his experience, it’s going to be another weapon out there for Team Penske,” new teammate and three-time Indy winner Helio Castroneves said. “With every series he’s been in, he’s been able to win races, so he certainly is going to help us develop and be even more competitive.”
Montoya acknowledges it will take time.
He’s spent a lot of time on the track and in the team shop, reacquainting himself with the higher racing speeds and the differences among IndyCar’s three racing circuits.- ovals, road and street courses.
Still, longtime IndyCar observers think this it will be a perfect match.
“What’s really unique about Juan Pablo Montoya, I feel pretty comfortable in saying, he may be the most versatile driver at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that this track has ever seen,” Indy speedway President Doug Boles said. “He’s run F1, he’s run IndyCar, he’s run Cup cars, he’s run sports cars and he’s ridden on the back of a MotoGP two-seater. He’s run at speed in every form of racing we have here.”
But in all those combined trips to Indy, Montoya has earned just that one trip to Victory Lane. He led 167 of 200 laps in his only 500 start, then jumped to F1 and never had a chance to reclaim the title.
He’ll get two chances to do that this May.
Montoya is expected to start in the inaugural Indianapolis Grand Prix on May 10, and hopes to be one of 33 cars starting the May 25th 500 on the traditional 2.5-mile oval.
For Montoya, it’s more than a dream. It’s an opportunity to feel young again.
“The Brickyard (400) is a big deal, but it’s not the Indy 500,” he said. “I never thought I’d be back here to try to get another win. I’m excited and to race here for Team Penske is a hell of a chance (to win).”