Montoya confirms he won’t race in 2018 Indy 500

Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya will not make a sixth Indianapolis 500 appearance in 2018, Motorsport.com has learned.

Montoya confirms he won’t race in 2018 Indy 500
#6 Acura Team Penske Acura DPi, P: Dane Cameron, Juan Pablo Montoya, Simon Pagenaud
Juan Pablo Montoya, Team Penske
Juan Pablo Montoya, BMW Williams FW23, Michael Schumacher, Ferrari F1 2001
#6 Acura Team Penske Acura DPi, P: Dane Cameron, Juan Pablo Montoya, Simon Pagenaud
#6 Acura Team Penske Acura DPi, P: Dane Cameron, Juan Pablo Montoya, Simon Pagenaud
Juan Pablo Montoya signs Justin Wilson poster
Juan Pablo Montoya of Team Latin America

The Colombian, who won the Memorial Day Weekend classic for Ganassi in 2000 and for Penske in 2015, is now a full-time member of the Acura Team Penske team in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Following his return to Indy car after six seasons in Formula 1 and seven in NASCAR, Montoya not only won Indy in 2015, but also only lost the championship on a tiebreak with Scott Dixon.

He was replaced fulltime in Penske’s IndyCar squad by eventual champion Josef Newgarden for 2017, but raced in the Indy Grand Prix and the 500 last May.

Montoya told Motorsport.com that he would speak to team owner Roger Penske about another entry in the 500, but for 2018, Penske has cut back to three fulltime entries – Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power – and the extra ride for the Month of May has gone to Helio Castroneves. The Brazilian’s fulltime IndyCar career ended last September, as he has now joined Montoya in the IMSA arm of the squad. 

Team owner Roger Penske previously said he would allow Montoya to look for alternative drives in Indy, stating last year, “If he wants to run for another team, that would be his decision. There would be nothing that we would say no to. It would be his decision completely."

Montoya then began talks with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports-Honda, but team co-owner Sam Schmidt said in January, "I was told that Roger wouldn't let him.”

Now Montoya has confirmed that his full attention is on sportscars – his recently announced Le Mans drive [with United Autosports]  and his current IMSA campaign.

“I won’t be racing the Indy 500 because I am fully focused on getting the Acura Penske to victory lane in the IMSA championship and my upcoming debut in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 

“[But] I will be for sure watching as my teammates go for a 17th win for Roger.”

Asked by Motorsport.com for comment, Penske provided a statement on its team policy. It read: “Our official position is that our drivers typically don’t compete against us in other series.” 

The Indy 500 recently reached its maximum field size of 33 cars and bumping will return in 2018, as Motorsport.com understands at least two and possibly three additional entries are expected.

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