Juan Pablo Montoya is one of the most recognizable names in racing. He’s raced nearly everywhere you can think of — IndyCar, NASCAR, Formula 1 — and he’s won everywhere he raced.
Montoya is now in his second season with Acura Team Penske and last year was the learning curve that seems to hit all teams regardless of how good the people associated with the team are. And when you talk Roger Penske, you know you’re going to have the best of the best, from the race car drivers to the driver of the transporter.
Last season, the Acura DPi looked impressive on the track, but something seemed to go wrong at the most inopportune moment.
“We were close so many times,” Montoya said. “This year we’re hoping we can get a little more luck on our side.”
If good luck is going to come to the team in 2019, it will need to start at Sebring, as the car ran strong, but a couple of issues — including one that sent the car to the garage and left them 17 laps behind the leader — left the team with a sixth-place finish.
“We ended up having an issue with the car,” Montoya said. “If we go to Sebring and have a clean Sebring it will go a long ways.”
Montoya said it is a little bit different going from being a solo driver for so many years to being part of a two- to four-driver team, but he enjoys it.
“I think for me personally, it’s always exciting,” Montoya said. “It’s something you have to learn to do and how to execute. I don’t even think about it too much.”
Acura Team Penske has been well-received by IMSA fans, which Montoya said was great to see, and interacting with the fans was a real treat.
“The fans come and support us and when we can give a little bit back to the fans it’s good,” he said.
Sebring fans aren’t your typical race fans and that’s one of the things that makes the 12 Hours such a special event.
“It’s kind of a mixture between an IndyCar fan and a NASCAR fan,” Montoya said. “They’re passionate, a lot of them are unique to Sebring and love the tradition of the event. I think it’s cool.”
Montoya has driven his share of amazing cars, so when he says ‘Super Sebring’ is an event you don’t want to miss, the man knows what he’s talking about.
“This year having the WEC on Friday and our race on Saturday, if you like cool race cars it really doesn’t get any better than that,” he said. “I think anybody who’s never been to Sebring should take advantage and go. “