Juan Pablo Montoya, Spa-Francorchamps, 2019

Montoya reunites with McLaren in bid for third Indy 500 win


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Juan Pablo Montoya will return to the Indy 500 next year with McLaren, who he previously drove for in Formula 1.

The 45-year-old raced for McLaren in 2005 and 2006, taking three of his seven grand prix wins with them. He scored his two Indy 500 victories either side of his F1 career, winning it as a rookie with Ganassi in 2000 and adding a second victory with Penske in 2015. He last entered the race in 2017 with the same team.

On his return to the Brickyard Montoya will drive a third McLaren SP-run car alongside full-time drivers Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist.

“I have some great history with McLaren from my F1 days and I’m looking forward to making some more at next year’s Indianapolis 500,” said Montoya.

Since his last appearance at Indianapolis Montoya has raced sports cars in IMSA, winning the Daytona prototype class with Dane Cameron for Penske in 2019. This year, alongside another IMSA campaign for Penske, he contested the Le Mans 24 hours for Dragonspeed, but failed to reach the chequered flag.

McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt said they were “thrilled to have a driver of Juan’s calibre join the team for next year’s Indianapolis 500.

“His experience will elevate the entire team, including our young, talented line-up of Pato and Felix,” said Schmidt. “When you think that he’s only started the Indy 500 five times but won it twice, that’s impressive.”

McLaren SP also ran a one-off third car at this year’s Indy 500, for Fernando Alonso. The two-times F1 world champion, who has set his sights on winning the Indy 500 to complete the ‘triple crown’ with victories at the Monaco Grand Prix and Le Mans 24 Hours, will not contest next year’s race as he returns to F1 with Renault.

Montoya is two-thirds of the way towards a triple crown of his own, needing only victory at Le Mans to complete the set.

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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14 comments on “Montoya reunites with McLaren in bid for third Indy 500 win”

  1. Well, It will sure enough draw some more attention to them. And yeah, Montoya does have a very decent chunk of relevant experience off course.

    Good move, always nice that teams can get 3rd cars on the grid for these kind of one offs.

  2. Jose Lopes da Silva
    9th December 2020, 16:53

    Montoya would also be a cool choice for the F1 Young Drivers Test, but it will really cool to watch him at Indy once again.

    1. I don’t think he’s old enough for the former though.

  3. Given the DPi / LMh convergence in Sportscar racing coming soon I thought he’d have lined up anther shot at Le Mans and beating Alonso to winning the Triple Crown …

    1. I believe he’s also driving an LMP2 in 2021 WEC with DragonSpeed.

  4. Good for Montoya an excellent driver. I wish him luck.

  5. Good choice

  6. Bravo for Monty!! I really hope he also can have a shot at winning Le Mans.

  7. You’re gonna need a bigger car.

    1. Why?? Oh i get it, you are bringing up lame weight jokes from 2004

  8. This is fabulous news, Montoya is a great character in addition to being an amazing helmsman, it’ll add a nice dynamic to the Indy 500 next year. His strike rate at Indy, 2 wins in 5 starts, is actually pretty remarkable when you think about it. Ultimately though I wish Juan would do the right thing and get himself a frontline sportscar drive so he can have a pop at outright victory at Le Mans.

  9. Alonso 1.0

  10. Pato O’Ward took 6th in the Mclaren SP in 2020 finishing 3 seconds behind the leader. I am really looking forward to the next race. Maybe it will be open to fans this year and I can see it in person!

  11. Montoya is going to have a race drivers dream season with no pressure: Full WEC season in LMP2, race the Daytona 24hr, and race in the Indy500. If he wins his class in Lemans, does he qualify for the triple crown??? I think it should, as lmp2 is more competive than lmp1.

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