Captain's Corner - Simon Pagenaud

The next installment of a weekly series with members of Team Penske.

Captain's Corner - Simon Pagenaud
Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske Chevrolet
Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske Chevrolet
Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske Chevrolet
Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske Chevrolet
Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske Chevrolet

As part of Motorsport.com’s content partnership with Team Penske, we will provide fans with exclusive content each week from the organization’s drivers, crew members and staff to readers throughout the 2017 season.

This week, reigning IndyCar Series champion Simon Pagenaud offers a first-person account of his preparations for the start of the 2017 season.

Hey everyone,

I am writing you from my office in Charlotte the last weekend before the storm.

The 2017 season is already underway and even though it looks like things have been quiet for several months, it’s about to get a lot more exciting, shortly.

I have to say this winter has been busy and really great. The championship celebration went on for a while and, up until the end of November, I was really busy with appearances for my team partners, IndyCar, and the media.

Starting in December I managed to refocus on myself and spend some time with Hailey and her family. We then traveled to our home in France to spend Christmas with my family and friends.

It is something really important to me, as it is my way to reconnect to my roots and also turn the page on the previous season and focus on coming year.

I always use the evening of December 31st as a mental switch. As I awoke on January 1st, my mind was fully turned to the 2017 campaign.

The foundation of my preparation always starts in France where I have my physical trainer, mental trainer as well as other (preparation) secrets I can't reveal or I will have to hunt you and find you ...

Just before Christmas with the data we gathered from the previous season, my trainer and I adjust the training needed for the next season. For example, some work on my legs and hips was needed.

The mental preparation, for me, is just as important, or more. We defined my areas of strength and weakness and set a plan on how to improve all areas to come back with more motivation and confidence.

To me, when you come back as the champion there is definitely a sense of pride for the work done. But the beauty of our sport is that every day is a new day. And my main goal is to be better tomorrow than yesterday. I guarantee you the others are working hard as well and I don't want to get beat so I will work harder. This is my ethic.

At the beginning of a new season we reset to zero. It’s a new year, and what happened the year before doesn't matter anymore. It's on.

An interesting feeling I have is that I have always been very anxious in my career to succeed at the level I wanted to succeed. Since I was 4 years old I wanted to be an IndyCar champion. I have always been anxious about it, thinking I don't want to be done with my career without being a champion.

Now, I feel a sense of relief and I feel more free, clearer in my head. It's a great feeling. Some of the pressure is off but the desire to keep that feeling of satisfaction is really strong. So, I am going to fight to make sure I can live this again. I am not content until I feel I performed at my best.

Once the season starts I will be focused on bringing my ‘A’ game every weekend. With Team Penske, and the equipment I am given, the cars are capable of winning every weekend. During the race weekend you need to make the right decisions. Putting a whole weekend from Friday to Sunday together in IndyCar is very difficult these days because of how strong the competition is.

I do not feel like a marked man, I do not think or worry about what the others think. I feel like it’s a waste of my energy. I can only focus on myself and I can only control what I can control.

I am not expecting anything for 2017; 'expecting' seems to be the wrong word ... You can't expect something to happen. I can't read into the future. My goals are to extract the best out of each situation and a great outcome would be to win another championship as well as the Indianapolis 500.

I can assure you that I didn't relax or rest, I am more hungry than I have ever been. My motivation is at the highest and I love living this life and driving this incredible racecar. So, if there is something to expect of me this year, it is to see me fight like a lion.

Simon Pagenaud

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