‘Time will tell’ on sports car racing future, says Juan Pablo Montoya

Photo credit: John Dagys
John Dagys/© John Dagys

Juan Pablo Montoya is taking a wait-and-see approach on a potential career in sports car racing, after getting his first laps in a Ferrari 488 GTE car.

The two-time Indianapolis 500 winner took part in Friday’s IMSA-sanctioned test at Sebring at the invite of Risi Competizione, where he completed an initial run of 10 laps in the GT Le Mans class contender.

He turned a best lap of 2:01.414, less than three seconds slower than Sebastien Bourdais’ pace-setting time in the Rolex 24 at Daytona class-winning No. 66 Ford GT.

It marked Montoya’s first experience in a GT car, after most recently testing a Porsche 919 Hybrid in the FIA World Endurance Championship Rookie Test in Bahrain in 2015.

“It’s fun,” Montoya said after the run. “It’s different. I ran like 4-8 laps just to get the hang of it. I’m probably going to get back in a little bit later.”

While known for his success in the open-wheel ranks, the Colombian is also a three-time Rolex 24 at Daytona overall race winner, having won in 2007, 2008 and 2013, all with Chip Ganassi Racing in Riley DPs.

“A prototype drives more like an open-wheel car,” he said. “This is very different.

“There’s a lot of pitch movement with the cars. It’s very easy to get it wrong.

“You go in one time and it turns, the next time you go in, it doesn’t, the next time you go in, it gets loose. It’s very hard to be consistent.”

While Risi team manager Dave Sims ruled out seeing Montoya in the car for next month’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the Formula One veteran could be back in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship sooner rather than later.

Montoya, who remains under contract with Team Penske, has been linked as one of the drivers for the team’s planned DPi venture, rumored to be with Honda, that is expected to debut next year.

When asked about a full-time switch to sports cars, Montoya said “time will tell.”

“I would think so but we’ll see. We’ll see when and what,” he said.

Montoya’s only planned race this year is the Indianapolis 500, in a one-off run in a fifth Penske entry.

Photo credit: John Dagys
John Dagys/© John Dagys