Juan Pablo Montoya isn’t sure where he’ll be driving next year, but he knows he wants to continue after Acura Team Penske shutters its three-year IMSA program at the end of the season.
The Colombian’s credentials are well known: F3000 champion, two-time Indy 500 winner, CART IndyCar Series champion, a winner in Formula 1, NASCAR, and Grand-Am. And with his 45th birthday arriving later this month, Montoya finds himself at an interesting place in his career; with a lifetime of success in the rearview mirror and nothing left to prove, he could retire and continue steering his son Sebastian’s budding open-wheel career in Europe.
But that’s not how the elder Montoya is wired; the passion for racing and pursuing more championships continues to burn within the defending WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi title holder.
“I don’t know what’s next,” he told RACER. “Honestly, today, I don’t know. I want to keep racing, but it has to be something good — something competitive, then yes but if not, eh. It has to have a purpose. I’m not one of those guys who’s just going to take anything to keep driving. I want to keep going, but in the right situation. If it’s something that spikes my interest, yes, let’s talk.”
On the subject of his post-Penske opportunities, Montoya is known to have made inquiries and explored his options with a couple of leading IndyCar and IMSA teams. With five DPi races left to complete, including this weekend’s six-hour IMSA contest at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, there’s plenty of work to do with teammate Dane Cameron in the No. 6 Acura ARX-05 before 2021’s destination is resolved.
“I don’t know what’s out there for drives, and with COVID, I have to be patient,” Montoya said. “I hear a lot of rumors and stuff about what might happen. But I’m in no rush to take a decision. Whatever I think is best for my future, I’ll take. It is what it is.”
Focusing on the present, Acura’s title defense has been an ongoing struggle. Although the sister ARX-05 driven by Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroneves won the most recent round, a turbulent start to the 2020 season has the Acura Team Penske entries holding sixth and seventh in a class with eight full-time cars.
Keeping their hands on the championship would involve an ongoing series of miracles, and with the Penske outfit set to say farewell to Acura program, Montoya says there’s no confusion about their mission between Road Atlanta and the 12 Hours of Sebring on Nov. 14.
“It’s nice, because I’m not thinking about next year,” he added. “We’re still pushing like crazy; it was a hard start to the year, but we’re going to keep pushing and see how far we can go. Our realistic thing is to go for broke, get some wins, and see what it brings. And then for me after, honest answer about my future: When I know, I’ll tell you!”