Read the full Q&A with Juan Pablo Montoya and Tim Cindric here
Juan Pablo Montoya has targeted a win in next year’s Indy 500 following his self-described “dream” move to IndyCar with Team Penske.
The Colombian was snatched up by Penske following the announcement that he would not be retained by Earnhardt Ganassi Racing’s NASCAR Sprint Cup program next year. He believes that his NASCAR experience will allow him to be immediately competitive on ovals when he makes his return to open-wheel racing after seven years in stock cars.
“The oval side I am not worried about at all, to be honest with you,” Montoya said. “With seven years of NASCAR and my open-wheel experience before that, I’m pretty excited about going to the ovals.
“And the one you want to win is an oval: you want to win the Indy 500. So I’m excited about that. Having the opportunity to be at Indy with Team Penske is going to be huge.”
The 37-year -old, who will drive a third Penske IndyCar alongside current drivers Helio Castroneves and Will Power, admits that it might take him more time to get back up to speed on road and street courses, but is hopeful that his new teammates will help him to get reacquainted.
“The [road and street course] part will be a process,” he said. “I’ve normally picked things up pretty quickly all through my career, and having Will and Helio as teammates helping me out is really going to help me to get up to speed.
“I’m going to have to learn a lot again, but I am up for the challenge. That’s the number one thing.”
Montoya’s return to IndyCar had been rumored for several weeks, although there was also speculation that he would remain in NASCAR. His deal with Penske came as a surprise, and while he said that he had other opportunities for 2014 in both series, he was swayed by Penske’s strong track record.
“If you dream of any ideal situation for a driver, I think racing for Penske would be number one,” he added. “When it was announced that I wasn’t going to be in the No. 42 [EGR] car next year, my number one choice was to be in a winning car.
“When this opportunity came around, you didn’t even have to think about it. It was a great opportunity.”