INDYCAR MOTO BLOG

FIA WEC: Montoya Open To Race At Le Mans, Attempt Triple Crown

Juan Pablo Montoya, the winner of this year’s Indianapolis 500, has expressed interest of racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the future.Montoya is the only active driver who has won two races of the Triple Crown of Motorsport, the Indianapolis 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix in his case. By winning at Le Mans, he would join Graham Hill as the only other driver to have completed the Triple Crown.
 

Juan Pablo Montoya, of Colombia, celebrates after winning the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Sunday, May 24, 2015.  (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Juan Pablo Montoya, of Colombia, celebrates after winning the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Sunday, May 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

In the current era of drivers often specializing to one series, Montoya has had success in an unusual number of categories. After winning the 1999 CART title and the 2000 Indianapolis 500 as a rookie, he went to Formula One and won seven Grands Prix there. After leaving Formula One in 2006, he won two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and won the Rolex 24 At Daytona three times before returning to open-wheel racing last year, to win his second Indianapolis 500 this year.

Montoya has stated that the chance of making history isn’t what motivates him to race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans; what drives him is just that he wants to win. He finds the LMP1-Hybrid class interesting, thinking those cars would be amazing to drive. He believes that he could win the race as a rookie like Nico Hülkenberg did this year and Tom Kristensen did earlier. But he also uses Hülkenberg’s win as an example that you need the right team to have a chance to win, stating he has no reason to do the race just to do it – he wants to have a chance to win.

Still, he is in no hurry to race at Le Mans. He says he has no chance to race there as long as he is racing in the Verizon IndyCar Series. He also thinks it’s hard to program oneself for the long term, especially if one’s long term is something different.

So, the 39-year-old Colombian’s focus stays solely in his current commitments for now.

But once Montoya wants to get to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Gérard Neveu, CEO of the FIA World Endurance Championship, is keen to get a driver like him to the grid. He finds Montoya’s achievements and character fantastic and believes Montoya can get an LMP1 seat to fight for the victory.

Surely a driver going for such a historical feat could increase the public interest for the race, especially among open-wheel racing fans who remember Montoya winning the other classic events. The possibility of hiring a driver aiming to complete the Triple Crown and the promotional benefits of it should also attract the LMP1 manufacturers. For now, though, Montoya remains committed to his No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet, but there is hope to see him aiming to complete the Triple Crown of Motorsport in the near future.