Montoya plays down Le Mans rumours after Porsche WEC test

World Endurance Championship

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Juan Pablo Montoya was reunited with two of his former Formula One engineers when he drove Porsche’s 919 LMP1 car in Bahrain last weekend.

The Monaco Grand Prix and Indianapolis 500 winner’s test for the World Endurance Championship-winners has prompted speculation he might be considering a bid to capture the ‘triple crown’ by adding the Le Mans 24 Hours to his list of triumphs. But Montoya, who is racing for Penske in IndyCar, was quick to play down any questions about his future plans.

“I knew Fritz Enzinger and Andreas Seidl from Formula One days and it was great when they invited me to drive the 919 Hybrid,” said Montoya. “We don’t have any plans for the future, we didn’t even talk about it. I came to Bahrain to have fun and drive the hell out of the car and it was great.”

Montoya said the Porsche was an “amazing” car. “It is currently the most advanced race car on the planet and it is a hell of a toy.”

“I have driven all kinds of cars and this one is a lot of fun. It has a lot of power, is really, really stable and because it is so predictable, it invites you to overdrive it. That’s what I found the most impressive thing. In fact the car is so good that you don’t realize the speed your going.”

“Beforehand it was a bit shocking when I was given a 30 page manual of how to operate the car, but then it wasn’t that difficult.”

Porsche also ran GP2 driver Mitch Evans at the World Endurance Championship’s rookie test.

Juan Pablo Montoya and Mitch Evans test the Porsche 919

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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14 comments on “Montoya plays down Le Mans rumours after Porsche WEC test”

  1. IndyCar’s 2016 schedule is far too condensed for Montoya to do Le Mans next year, but it’s too early to rule him out of 2017 and possibly beyond. Porsche have done a very good job so far by getting a couple of pretty big names into their car already, especially with the (IMO too much) hype over Webber.

    1. (IMO too much) hype over Webber.

      Wut? He just sealed the Championship. You think someone else might have done better?

      1. Just because Webber used to race in F1, doesn’t make him the most valuable member of the team. He shares that car with Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard, both very capable drivers; it’s only fair they get attention too.

      2. @gridlock, as RaceProUK points out, it is a little disingenuous to focus solely on Webber given that the other drivers in his team have made just as much – if not more – of a contribution to the success of the team. Furthermore, to be honest I would rate Earl Bamber over Webber – Bamber was the driver who was considered to have put in the most impressive stints, both in terms of his pace and his consistency, at Le Mans this year, and his record in the GT category is pretty solid too.

    2. @craig-o Every brand needs a face mate.

      1. @xtwl @gridlock It is more the fact that both Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard are very much forgotten men in all this. Just check through the FIA WEC YouTube channel. It’s predominantly coverage of Webber, with very little coverage of the other two drivers who at the end of the day, are also World Champion having done a fantastic job.

        1. that is just promotion for the series, – but don’t hate on Webber – he deserves his high name, and Hartley and Bernhard are being recognized and in the future with more success will be big names themselves.

        2. @craig-o Just as it was with Hulkenberg. You’re underestimating the stature of being an ex-F1 driver I feel.

  2. I would be amazed if both Porsche and Montoya weren’t seriously considering an assault at Le Mans in the near future. Having Montoya on board will increase the hype around Porsche and Le Mans in the US, a major market for Porsche. Having him in the field will increase interest from fans of all motorsport in general because there would be a real chance that someone would complete the “triple crown” for the first time in 50 odd years, which is good for Le Mans, the ACO and the FIA.

    The downsides, well I don’t see there being any. Montoya has experience of a wide range of machinery so he isn’t likely to do anything stupid in the car. And if Porsche produce a car quick enough for Montoya to be in the hunt for the race win you can bet your bottom dollar that one of the other two cars would be there or there abouts as well. For Montoya, if he doesn’t win, I don’t think anyone would hold it against him because we all know how difficult Le Mans is and he hasn’t raced there before.

    I would love this to happen, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

    1. I think that really the only downside / obstacle is to find the time to do it. Maybe if he wins the title in Indycars this year, he will make the time do to LeMans next year?

  3. I really hope JPM does it, if not next year, the year after. Ive been hoping that he’d do Le Mans for years!

    If he wins Le Mans, it would not only complete the Triple Crown, it would also cement Juan’s reputation as one of the best racing drivers out there.

    There arent many drivers out there have raced and won in the various categories that JPM has.

  4. When someone says that LMP1 are the most advanced machines on the planet, it’s an insult to F1 and a reminder that the sport is slowly but surely getting eclipsed!

    I really wish to see JPM in WEC. Porsche has become the face of WEC in just two years.

  5. Why does everyone always have to downplay things in motorsport?

    Porsche needs a new driver to fill Hulkenberg’s shoes, or two in the likely case that Dumas is stood down, and Montoya has shown himself to be immediately on the pace. He has understandably confessed to feeling cheated of an IndyCar title lost on double-points, and he wouldn’t be doing this test if it wasn’t a realistic option for him.

    He doesn’t even need to take an IndyCar sabbatical provided there isn’t a clash. For me, I think we can expect Bamber/Evans/Montoya in the #19, and Dumas making way for Tandy in the #18 crew.

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