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Montoya to drive for Penske in 2014 IndyCar season

This topic contains 45 replies, has 23 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of SP SP 8 months ago.

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  • #240476
    Profile photo of Njack
    Njack
    Participant

    How good he’ll actually be, I don’t know. We’ll get an idea how serious he is about the enterprise when we see how tightly his overalls fit next spring.

    I would hope he sheds 20 kg and does become a front runner if it happens.

    Unlike F1, Indycar has instituted a weight equivalence system since last year. http://tinyurl.com/l25tggv

    Good news even if I’ll only be checking in on the non-oval circuit races.

    #240477
    Profile photo of SoLiDG
    SoLiDG
    Participant

    For those not following nascar, Montoya has shown he is a good driver.
    But his team isn’t a top team in nascar, which makes it hard to win.
    He has had some bad luck a few times because he has been very close to some oval victories.
    But in nascar a good driver delivers good top10 results, that’s a good result with a 40+ field.

    The team has been struggling, but a few races back Montoya got a new car, and since he’s been at the front non stop. I do believe in a better team he would score a few more victories.

    That said, I’m very excited that he’ll be driving in the indycay series, they needed a ‘fresh’ face with a huge following and talent to boost the series.
    And for those not following that, don’t be afraid of too many ovals, since the merger it’s been a lot less and an oval race now and then is fun!

    #240478
    Profile photo of Keith Collantine
    Keith Collantine
    Keymaster

    He’ll have his first run in the car next week:

    Juan Pablo Montoya will conduct his first IZOD IndyCar Series test with Team Penske next week at Sebring International Raceway. The test will be open to media on Monday, Nov. 25.

    In September Team Penske announced Montoya will drive the No. 2 car for the full 2014 IndyCar Series season after an eight-year run in NASCAR. The test will be Montoya’s first time behind the wheel of an Indy car since the 2000 season.

    Montoya, 38, is a native of Colombia and one of the most accomplished drivers in the world. His career highlights include race wins in Formula One, NASCAR and IndyCar. Montoya earned 11 Indy car wins over two seasons, capturing the series title in his rookie season in 1999 followed by a victory in the 2000 Indy 500.

    #240479
    Profile photo of Aish Heydrich
    Aish Heydrich
    Participant

    Thanks for all the tidbits. Love Montoya. Miss him.

    #240480
    Profile photo of Keith Collantine
    Keith Collantine
    Keymaster

    Montoya had his first run in the car today. There’s some interesting stuff in the press release so I’m going to dump the whole long thing here:

    Montoya takes first laps with Team Penske at Sebring

    SEBRING, Fla. (Monday, Nov. 25, 2013) – It didn’t take Juan Pablo Montoya long to get the hang of an IZOD IndyCar Series car.

    Team Penske’s newest driver sampled his Chevrolet-powered Indy car for the first time on Nov. 25 during the first day of a two-day test at Sebring International Raceway. The goal was to get the former Indianapolis 500, Formula One and NASCAR race winner comfortable in the car he’ll race in 2014.

    “The biggest thing is that everything is still happening really fast, Montoya said. “It’s OK, but as it happens so fast you end up making mistakes. With more time in the car, everything will slow down and it will be easier. It’s happened to me before a few times, so I know that with time everything will be easier.”

    Still, Montoya looked at home as he adapted to driving an open-wheel car for the first time since he left Formula One for NASCAR in 2006. He turned 20 laps during the morning test session and ran times comparable to Will Power, who the team brought in to set up the car for his new teammate.

    “You don’t win races in Formula One and poles in Formula One and races in the CART Series on your first try if you’re slow,” Power said. “I actually expected to learn from him. He’s already brought some good ideas to the team even before he got in the car. Just from what I see from the data he has a very similar style to me. The way he brakes and everything. That should be good as far as our setups.”

    The initial results also impressed one of his new bosses – Penske Racing President Tim Cindric, who said the task for the 1999 CART champion will be learning the nuances of racing in the IndyCar Series.

    “He was within a few tenths of Will in the first outing,” Cindric said. “It was pretty impressive, really. We put him out on old tires just to learn where the gear shifts were and then put him back on Will’s tire and he was within a couple tenths right out of the box. Right now it’s happening pretty fast, he’s probably a half a second off the guys who were here last week, but that’s not too bad. Finding the last half second without losing his confidence will be the challenge.”

    Montoya returns to car for another day of testing at Sebring. While he gave himself a grade of 8 out of 10. He said his goal for the test is to gain knowledge that he can use to help the entire team get better.

    “Do I want to win? Of course I want to win,” he said. “Do I want to do the best I can. Yeah. How good is that going to be? I don’t know. You have to beat Will, who is one of the fastest guys in the series. Helio has a ton of experience. I ran against him when I won the championship, and he’s still doing it. For them to get in the car every day, this is there home, and I need to make this my home.”

    Interested observers abound

    Among the interested observers of Montoya’s test were four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears and Helio Castroneves. Both came to support their newest teammate even though neither had a role in the test plan.

    “To have Will and Helio here to help says a lot,” Cindric said. “The three of those guys will have something to contribute.”

    Castroneves, who raced against Montoya in CART, said the Colombian will be an asset to the team.

    He’s going to be an addition to the team, for sure; a he’s going to be an addition. So I’m excited to see him here,” he said. “I’m sure a lot of people are going to be excited to have him back and see him as well.”

    QUOTESHEET:

    JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: “It was good. The first run was really, really weird. We did a little bit of buildup on the (steering) wheel to supposedly give it more leverage and I think we overdid it a little bit. The position of the wheel was really different. With a Cup wheel, you try to put it as low as you can, but it’s so big, the wheel is a lot higher, so getting comfortable is a little bit different. I’ll tell you, the motor runs really good. When you get to gas, it has a ton of torque, that it’s fun. Braking is hard. For what I’ve been running the last few years, the first few laps, it’s like OK. The initial bite is not bad. You get on brakes and there’s a bit of lag while the brakes get hot. So it takes a while to get used to that, but you get used to it. We’re miles away from where I think I need to be, but second and third run it was going through the gears, through the motions. It’s just so different. It’s going to take a little bit of time. Like Will says, when he understeers he can feel in the friggin’ wheel that he’s losing the front end of the car. ‘I’m like, ‘You don’t know what sliding is. You should drive a Cup car. That’s like 10 percent of what I’m used to.’ It’s fun. At the same time, you end up trying too hard. The couple of places I started good, I’m trying to roll through fast and killing the exits. I have to get to a point where I’m actually comfortable to understand and know the limits of the car.”

    “My biggest concern was the (steering) wheel and how heavy was it going to be. The good thing is we’re here and it’s not that bad yet. You can tell that we started on old scuff tires and the steering was really light, but then we put new tires on and I was like, ‘Oh, OK that’s what they mean.’ It hasn’t been that bad.”

    About New terminology: “Understeer, oversteer.” (I heard you de-wedged the car?): “Yeah, and raised the trackbar (laughter). (And it’s a transporter now): “Not a hauler. A transporter. I haven’t got that one yet. The main goal is to run good and make Team Penske proud of having me here. It’s a great opportunity that Roger (Penske) has given me and I want to make the most of it.”

    (Did you have fun out there?): “Yeah, huge smile, ear-to-ear, every lap. It’s funny because now, you look at data again, and it’s not like when you want to look at data, you have to ask somebody for 20 minutes and they say ‘hold on, I’m doing something. With this, you sit in the car and they show you and you see, Oh OK, I’m breaking like a (sissy) here and I’m not fast enough here. I think that’s going to be the hardest thing. The fastest corner here is what we call Turn 3 and I go in and down the gears and I’m like, “No, not yet.’ I’m not that far off, but I want to build to it. I want to go from here to there, and not go for it and waste three or four hours fixing the car and going at it again. I’m trying to build it slow.”

    (Comparing IndyCar to Cup): “This place is a short track and it’s not really high speed and it’s like night and day. My Cup car my wheel was actually pretty heavy compared to most people. There’s a lot more with the shifting. In a Cup car at a road course you have four gears and at a place like Sonoma, you may only use three, sometimes you use fourth. This thing is (makes gear sounds), you’re up and down, up and down, up and down. A couple times I’ve been on the (rev) limiter and I try to shift and it doesn’t shift. I’ve done the most today.”

    (What appealed to you about INDYCAR): “What appealed to me is running for Roger and being in winning cars. To have the chance to work with Will and Helio and everyone at Penske Racing, it was a no brainer. (About doing sportscars): If Roger wants to I will.”

    (About what he learned): “It’s been a pretty windy day and kind of cool, so it’s been actually really good. We worked a lot on the car and getting to where I’m comfortable with the car. It’s like when we talked earlier, I’m trying to get the car to work for me. The biggest thing is that everything is still happening really fast. It’s OK but as it’s happens so fast you end up making mistakes. More time in the car and everything will slow down and it will be easier. That’s kind of normal and it’s happened to me before a few times, so I know that with time everything will be easier. I’m happy. You always want more, but what’s amazing and great is the people at Team Penske. Their dedication and people are unbelievable. I’m honored to be here. Gil de Ferran told me that you will not believe when you work with these people and he wasn’t kidding. Every person on this team cares. It’s pretty unbelievable.”

    (About standing starts): It’s more about understanding the engine. It’s hard with a turbo because if you spool up then you spin the tires, and if you don’t spool up, you bog down and it’s like, ‘hello?’ I went from spinning the tires to bogging down to spinning tires to bogging down. It’s a matter of understanding. And we’re on old tires, so there’s no grip.

    For a first day, I’d give myself an eight. I’m surprised the speed has been pretty good. Just a few too many mistakes. Like my engineer Ron said. Just a bit sloppy. It’s understandable for a first day.”

    WILL POWER: (Were you surprised Juan was up to speed so quickly?) “No. You don’t win races in Formula One and poles in Formula One and races in the CART Series on your first try if you’re slow. I actually expected to learn from him. He’s already brought some good ideas to the team even before he got in the car. Just from what I see from the data he has a very similar style to me. The way he brakes and everything. That should be good as far as our setups.” (So he’ll be able to help right away…) “I think so. I know he’s going to be bloody quick, and with quick teammates, that just raises the bar. You just learn from each other. He has a lot of experience from F1, CART and even ovals from NASCAR. It was exactly what I expected him to do when he got in the car. I didn’t expect anything less.” (Did you know him?): “I did not. I may have met him once.” (So did you have a preconceived impression?) “To me, it’s cool to be a teammate to a guy that was successful in Formula One. I’ve been wanting someone like that to go up against and see where I’m at. To me it’s great When I was younger he was one of the guys I looked at as the best when I was trying to get to that level. Even in CART, when you look at some of those qualifying laps at Detroit, he was a very fast solid good racer and driver.” (How is Juan similar to you?): “The way we brake in general the way we drive. He doesn’t have that many miles in the car, but from what I’ve seen, he drives the most similar to me. Briscoe kind of starting driving close, but Juan if you look at Turn 1, it’s exactly the same.”

    TIM CINDRIC: “I think it’s a really early days. With Juan, he’s a quick learner, for sure. I think the difference is going to be getting him to understand what it takes to win. I think somebody like Will really understands not only how to go fast, but how to save fuel; when to save fuel; who your competitors are. Which ones you can trust, which ones you can’t. I don’t care who you are, it’s going to take some time to learn those nuances. One strength that Juan has is that he’s mentally tough. He doesn’t let the little things bother him much. I think he takes a pretty simple approach and I think that could pay off for him in the series. Helio has always been the model of consistency. For us a team, we have to figure out how to put a whole season together. There hasn’t been a race in the last how many years that I didn’t feel like we couldn’t win. As long as you have that you have a good thing. Trying to understand that championship mentality is something we failed the last four, five six years. We should have half the championships from that span, but we don’t. Maybe Juan can bring us that kind of mentality. He’s learned a lot from his transition from Formula One to NASCAR. He hasn’t had a successful teammate and we’re going to be able to give him a gauge.”

    “It depends on the driver. I really do. This guy has done it before and he knows he can be successful. It’s going to be a little bit of a time. I know he’s a good study. Before he came here, he watched a lot of video. He doesn’t sit around and think he’ll hop in the car and be fast. I think he’ll be a lot like Will in that he will come to the race prepared. Will knows what happened the past few years, what he did, what the other guys did. Juan came here prepared and did his homework.”

    “I think this car is going to be a lot different from the CART car in a lot of ways. I think he realizes that, but it’s been so long since he’s been in a CART car that he’s forgotten some of that. If you were to put him in an old CART car, he may have a difference opinion, but I think enough time has gone by that he’s forgotten.”

    (How quickly did he get up to speed?) “He was within a few tenths of Will in the first outing. It was pretty impressive, really we put him out on old tires just to learn where the gear shifts were and then put him back on Will’s tire and he was within a couple tenths right out of the box. Right now it’s happening pretty fast, but the last half a second, he’s probably a half a second off the guys who were here last week, but that’s not too bad. Finding the last half second without losing his confidence will be the challenge.”

    #240481
    Profile photo of matt90
    matt90
    Participant

    “He’s going to be an addition to the team, for sure; a he’s going to be an addition.”

    A fantastic quote. ‘This new guy in the team is certainly proving to be a new guy in the team.’

    #240482
    Profile photo of SP
    SP
    Participant

    Helio’s English can be a little ropey at times, perhaps he meant to say “strong addition” or something :p

    #240483
    Profile photo of bull mello
    bull mello
    Participant

    JPM cannot forget how to drive an open wheel racing car because he still has the same attribute he started with, instinct. He can learn the the current nuances of IndyCar. He will win races. One of my favorite open wheel racers from CART to F1, it is fun to watch JPM drive. This is a step in the right direction for him.

    #240484
    Profile photo of GeeMac
    GeeMac
    Participant

    Interesting reading through Montoya’s remarks, it seems like he has completely forgotten how to drive a single seater after a 7-8 seasons of NASCAR! I’m sure that’s not true of course, but it is interesting and refreshing to hear a driver being so candid about the struggle of getting up to speed in a new category. He’s got a lot of pressure on him, he’s got a big reputation (a bit too big in my book but that’s just me) so it’ll be very interesting to see how he does.

    #240485
    Profile photo of Aish Heydrich
    Aish Heydrich
    Participant

    Juan Pablo Montoya’s reputation precedes him for sure and that is why some time in the future we may also read about Lotus F1 trying to lure Montoya back into F1, I mean if they tried and failed with Schumacher why not Juan!

    Jokes apart, he has got the guts, to step back in the open wheel one seater cars. He will do well. He has tremendous will power.

    WHO NAMES THEIR SON WILL POWER!

    And thanks Keith for all these, superb stuff.

    #240486
    Profile photo of sushant008
    sushant008
    Participant

    Found two videos on youtube.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hE4dXNGcqZ8
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8n8moNOMTU

    He looks really excited! Can’t wait for the 2014 season.

    #240487
    Profile photo of SoLiDG
    SoLiDG
    Participant

    As I said before, his return to indycar is great for the series.
    They can use this! The attention for just this test has been huge.
    I know I will watch indycar more closely this year as I am a huge JPM fan. Love his style.
    And it’s great he comes back with a top of the line drive.
    So yeah people will expect great things.

    Glad to hear Power say they have very similar driving styles, as he is probably the quickest driver in the field. So bring it on indy 2014!

    #240488
    Profile photo of Jason
    Jason
    Participant

    The video on this page has some of the same footage as those two videos, plus some:

    http://www.theguardian.com/sport/formulaone

    #253749
    #253807
    Profile photo of Keith Collantine
    Keith Collantine
    Keymaster

    He does seem to have trimmed out quite a bit. I wonder if we’re going to get to see a full list of driver weights?

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