By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Juan Pablo Montoya already has the Rolex 24 and 24 Hours of Le Mans on his busy 2021 racing schedule, now he’ll add the Indianapolis 500 to his lineup following Arrow McLaren SP’s announcement Wednesday morning.
The team confirmed Montoya will compete in the 105th Indy 500 (Sunday, May 30, 2021) in a third Chevrolet-powered entry which will mark the Colombian’s first trip back to Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 2017.
“I’m very excited to be joining Arrow McLaren SP for the Indianapolis 500,” said Montoya. “I have some great history with McLaren from my F1 days and I’m looking forward to making some more at next year’s Indianapolis 500.”
Montoya will bring valuable experience to the relatively young IndyCar team as he’ll be teammates with fourth-place points finisher Pato O’Ward, who’ll be entering his second full season in the NTT IndyCar Series, and series winner Felix Rosenqvist, who’ll be new to the team as well.
“Arrow McLaren SP is thrilled to have a driver of Juan’s caliber join the team for next year’s Indianapolis 500,” said Sam Schmidt, co-owner of Arrow McLaren SP. “His experience will elevate the entire team, including our young, talented lineup of Pato and Felix. When you think that he’s only started the Indy 500 five times but won it twice, that’s impressive.”
Since his last Indy 500 start, Montoya spent the past few seasons driving for Team Penske in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, co-winning the DPi championship with Dane Cameron in 2019.
This upcoming season, Montoya will be competing in the endurance races for Meyer Shank Racing, but will also head overseas and run full-time for DragonSpeed in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
As mentioned by Montoya, his bid at a third Indy 500 triumph will be a reunion of some sorts because he previously drove for McLaren’s Formula One team from 2005-06, where he won his final two of his seven career grand prix races before making the move to stock car racing for the next seven years.
“I’m delighted for Juan to rejoin the McLaren family and return to the Indianapolis 500 with Arrow McLaren SP,” said Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing. “He is an intensely competitive, highly versatile driver, with deep experience at the top level of motorsport and a big following. Having him with us at the 500 next year will be great for the team and INDYCAR fans everywhere.”
In five previous Indy 500 starts, Montoya won “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” twice in 2000 and 2015, and outside of a last-place result in 2016, Montoya has crossed the line inside the top-six.
Should Montoya win in 2021, he’ll be the first driver since four-time 500 winner Al Unser to win for three different teams (Parnelli Jones, Chaparral Racing and Team Penske), a feat that’s considered unprecedented.
Montoya’s car number and other details wasn’t confirmed in the press release, thus it’s expected to be announced at a later date.