Already winner of the Indianapolis 500 on 16 occasions, Team Penske will for the first time ever field five cars at the 2017 running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
Though he wasn’t offered a full-time drive with Penske next season, veteran Juan Pablo Montoya has been offered a one-off for the 2017 Indianapolis 500, team president Tim Cindric has confirmed.
The Indy 500 is at this stage the only IndyCar Series race that Montoya is scheduled to drive in the 2017 season.
The Colombian, a twice winner of the Indy 500, joins the four full-time drivers at the Brickyard.
They are the men who filled the top four places in the championship this year - champion Simon Pagenaud, second-placed Australian Will Power, third-placed veteran Helio Castroneves and Penske newcomer Newgarden (who replaces Montoya in car #2 next year).
Team Penske has already won the Indy 500 a whopping 15 times.
Now a free agent except for his Indy 500 commitments, Montoya has won 15 Indy car races in 91 career starts over five seasons, with stints in Formula One and NASCAR mixed in too.
He won the CART championship in 1999 and the Indianapolis 500 in 2000 and 2015 (the year he finished runner-up in the championship). Montoya was eighth in the standings last year, and Penske elected to instead sign Newgarden.
“It’s my best chance to win Indy again, to be honest. That is the one that counts and Penske gives me the best chance to win,” the Colombian told Motorsport.com
“Also this will give me more time to work with Sebastian [son] in karting.”
It is unclear if the 41-year-old will compete full-time in another championship, although he has previously tested a Porsche 919 LMP1 car.
Despite his age, Montoya is still rated very highly as a skilled, fast, and safe pair of hands.