First photos and quotes – Montoya Penske IndyCar test (2nd Update)

UPDATE #2 HELIO CASTRONEVES: "He felt really comfortable in the car. I wasn't expecting anything different to be honest. He was really relaxed. He's going to be an addition to the team, for sure, a he's going to be an addition. So I'm excited to see him here. I'm sure a lot of people are going to be excited to have him back and see him as well."

More from Montoya

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: “It was good. The first run was really, really weird. We did a little bit of buildup on the (steering) wheel to supposedly give it more leverage and I think we overdid it a little bit. The position of the wheel was really different. With a Cup wheel, you try to put it as low as you can, but it’s so big, the wheel is a lot higher, so getting comfortable is a little bit different. I’ll tell you, the motor runs really good. When you get to gas, it has a ton of torque, that it’s fun.

"Braking is hard. For what I’ve been running the last few years, the first few laps, it’s like OK. The initial bite is not bad. You get on brakes and there’s a bit of lag while the brakes get hot. So it takes a while to get used to that, but you get used to it. We’re miles away from where I think I need to be, but second and third run it was going through the gears, through the motions. It’s just so different. It’s going to take a little bit of time. Like Will says, when he understeers he can feel in the friggin’ wheel that he’s losing the front end of the car. I’m like, you don’t know what sliding is. You should drive a Cup car.’ That’s like 10 percent of what I’m used to. It’s fun. At the same time, you end up trying too hard. The couple of places I started good, I’m trying to roll through fast and killing the exits. I have to get to a point where I’m actually comfortable to understand and know the limits of the car. Going fast, I’m not worried about going fast. I’ll drive the hell out of it and that’s it. You have to be smart about how you do it. That’s what it’s all about. Getting to understand the car and the people I’ll be working with ."

“Biggest concern was the (steering) wheel and how heavy was it going to be. The good thing is we’re here and it’s not that bad yet. You can tell that we started on old scuff tires and the steering was really light, but then we put new tires on and I was like, ‘Oh, OK that’s what they mean.’ It hasn’t been that bad."

About New terminology: “Understeer, oversteer." (I heard you de-wedged the car?): “Yeah, and raised the trackbar (laughter). (And it’s a transporter now): “Not a hauler. A transporter. I haven’t got that one yet. The main goal is to run good and make Team Penske proud of having me here. It’s a great opportunity that Roger (Penske) has given me and I want to make the most of it."

(Did you have fun out there?): “Yeah, huge smile, ear-to-ear, every lap. It’s funny because now, you look at data again, and it’s not like when you want to look at data, you have to ask somebody for 20 minutes and they say ‘hold on, I’m doing something. With this, you sit in the car and they show you and you see, Oh OK, I’m breaking like a (sissy) here and I’m not fast enough here. I think that’s going to be the hardest thing. The fastest corner here is what we call Turn 3 and I go in and down the gears and I’m like, “No, not yet.’ I’m not that far off, but I want to build to it. I want to go from here to there, and not go for it and waste three or four hours fixing the car and going at it again. I’m trying to build it slow."

(Comparing IndyCar to Cup): “This place is a short track and it’s not really high speed and it’s like night and day. My Cup car my wheel was actually pretty heavy compared to most people. There’s a lot more with the shifting. In a Cup car at a road course you have four gears and at a place like Sonoma, you may only use three, sometimes you use fourth. This thing is (makes gear sounds), you’re up and down, up and down, up and down. A couple times I’ve been on the (rev) limiter and I try to shift and it doesn’t shift. I’ve done the most today."

(What appealed to you about INDYCAR): “What appealed to me is running for Roger and being in winning cars. To have the chance to work with Will and Helio and everyone at Penske Racing, it was a no brainer. (About doing sportscars): If Roger wants to, I will." Cindric adds “He told us, he’d drive anything in the building as long as it could win."

(Are the expectations realistic for you): “I think you should ask (Tim Cindric) that. Do I want to win? Of course I want to win. Do I want to do the best I can. Yeah. How good is that going to be? I don’t know. You have to beat Will, who is one of the fastest guys in the series. Helio has a ton of experience. I ran against him when I won the championship, and he’s still doing it. For them to get in the car every day it’s no big deal. This is their home, and I need to make this my home."

Tim Cindric quotes below

TIM CINDRIC: “I think it’s a really early days. With Juan, he’s a quick learner, for sure. I think the difference is going to be getting him to understand what it takes to win. I think somebody like Will really understands not only how to go fast, but how to save fuel. When to save fuel. Who your competitors are. Which ones you can trust, which ones you can’t. I don’t care who you are, it’s going to take some time to learn those nuances. One strength that Juan has is that he’s mentally tough. He doesn’t let the little things bother him much. I think he takes a pretty simple approach and I think that could pay off for him in the series. Helio has always been the model of consistency. For us a team, we have to figure out how to put a whole season together. There hasn’t been a race in the last how many years that I didn’t feel like we couldn’t win. As long as you have that you have a good thing. Trying to understand that championship mentality is something we failed the last four, five six years. We should have half the championships from that span, but we don’t. Maybe Juan can bring us that kind of mentality. He’s learned a lot from his transition from Formula One to NASCAR. He hasn’t had a successful teammate and we’re going to be able to give him a gauge."

“It depends on the driver. I really do. This guy has done it before and he knows he can be successful. It’s going to be a little bit of a time. I know he’s a good study. Before he came here, he watched a lot of video. He doesn’t sit around and think he’ll hop in the car and be fast. I think he’ll be a lot like Will in that he will come to the race prepared. Will knows what happened the past few years, what he did, what the other guys did. Juan came here prepared and did his homework."

“I think this car is going to be a lot different from the CART car in a lot of ways. I think he realizes that, but it’s been so long since he’s been in a CART car that he’s forgotten some of that. If you were to put him in an old CART car, he may have a difference opinion, but I think enough time has gone by that he’s forgotten."

(How quickly did he get up to speed?) “He was within a few tenths of Will in the first outing. It was pretty impressive, really We put him out on old tires just to learn where the gear shifts were and then put him back on Will’s tire and he was within a couple tenths right out of the box. Right now it’s happening pretty fast, but the last half a second, he’s probably a half a second off the guys who were here last week, but that’s not too bad. Finding the last half second without losing his confidence will be the challenge."

How many guys out there could bounce from series to series like he has? “Not successfully. I think he has some unfinished business in the stockcar. At the right time, we may put him in one of our cars that we fell is competitive. I think it’s an interesting thing to do. We have to mutually commit to this. This needs to be where the success needs to be to start with."

11/25/13 Juan Pablo Montoya turned his first laps in an Indy car in 13 years Monday during his first test with new team Penske Racing.

The Penske test at Sebring International Raceway was Montoya's first opportunity to get in his new car. He last drove in IndyCar in 2000, the year he won the Indianapolis 500 driving for Chip Ganassi.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: "I still don't believe it that I'm here, to be honest with you. You look at it. I look at the car and everything. My name on the car. It's really exciting. It's nice because of there's been excitement of everybody that I'm coming back to open wheel. It is (exciting) for me as well. But let's stop with the talk and actually get to drive the car. It's fun."

(About Will and Helio being on site to help): "It's exciting that they're here and willing to help. That's what Team Penske is all about. Really, everybody works together and trying to get me up to speed as fast as I can. The faster I get up to speed, the better it is for everybody."

(What are your goals for the test?): "I'm not going out there to try and break the track record on the first lap. I'm going to build to up it and keep working on the car and get the car to do what I want. You learn that as you go through the years. When you are young, you drive the car anywhere it is. Then you realize you can make it drive for you, you can achieve the same things with half the effort."

Please let me know if you need anything else and I’ll try to get it

Will Power quotes from the break…

WILL POWER: (Were you surprised Juan was up to speed so quickly?) “No. You don’t win races in Formula One and poles in Formula One and races in the CART Series on your first try if you’re slow. I actually expected to learn from him. He’s already brought some good ideas to the team even before he got in the car. Just from what I see from the data he has a very similar style to me. The way he brakes and everything. That should be good as far as our setups." (So he’ll be able to help right away…) “I think so. I know he’s going to be bloody quick, and with quick teammates, that just raises the bar. You just learn from each other. He has a lot of experience from F1, CART and even ovals from NASCAR. It was exactly what I expected him to do when he got in the car. I didn’t expect anything less." (Did you know him?): “I did not. I may have met him once." (So did you have a preconceived impression?) “ To me, it’s cool to be a teammate to a guy that was successful in Formula One. I’ve been wanting someone like that to go up against and see where I’m at. To me it’s great When I was younger he was one of the guys I looked at as the best when I was trying to get to that level. Even in CART, when you look at some of those qualifying laps at Detroit, he was a very fast solid good racer and driver."

More to come…


Leave a Reply