Montoya, Castroneves, Pagenaud to race Penske Oreca at Petit Le Mans

Team Penske has entered an Oreca 07-Gibson in next month’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship finale with an all-star driver lineup in preparation for next year’s full-season return to sportscar competition.

Montoya, Castroneves, Pagenaud to race Penske Oreca at Petit Le Mans

Penske will make its debut with the Acura ARX-05 DPi car next January in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, but has elected to prepare its drivers and crews by entering the 20th anniversary Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

Juan Pablo Montoya, who has already been named as one of Penske's IMSA drivers next year, and IndyCar duo Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud will share driving duties.

Said team president Tim Cindric: “We’ve had this race on our radar for some time, but we wanted to wait until we were able to get our drivers some testing at Road Atlanta prior to committing, as it is a very fast track and these cars are very different to drive from an IndyCar.

“Unfortunately, we confirmed this the hard way as we have had to totally rebuild our car after an incident during testing last week. Oreca have bent over backwards to be sure we receive everything we need as they understand the importance of this race as our team prepares for the debut of our Acura ARX-05s at the Daytona 24.

“Juan has participated in the majority of our prototype tests since we announced him as one of our full-time Acura drivers. We would also like to involve our other drivers in the program whenever possible. Helio and Simon have good experience in prototypes at Road Atlanta, so they seem like a natural fit to participate in the Petit for us.”  

Castroneves, who tested the Acura at Sebring the day after the IndyCar season finale at Sonoma, said: “It will be fun to work with Juan again. The car is a blast to drive as it has lots of power and an incredible amount of downforce.

“The last time I ran at Petit, I was fortunate enough to be a part of the winning team in our class. It was one of the highlights of my career. Now, I’m looking forward to that challenge again and I’m sure it will be fun racing with these guys in this setting.”

Pagenaud, who has 10 American Le Mans Series wins between 2009 and 2013 and four Le Mans Series victories for Peugeot, stated: “It’s a bit of a homecoming to get back into a prototype car. They are great cars to drive and to be paired with Juan and Helio in an endurance event is going to be a lot of fun.

“This is a chance for me to help Team Penske prepare for next year, while seeing what things we can learn and where we can improve right now.”

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