Montoya leads WEC rookie test in Bahrain, talks Le Mans future

By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief

Juan Pablo Montoya topped the time sheets in the FIA World Endurance Championship rookie test at Bahrain.

The test was set for five hours and organized by the sanctioning body.

Montoya set a best lap of 1m40.861s in the No. 17 Porsche 919 Hyrbid, over 1.2s faster than Richie Stanaway, who was running in the No. 8 Audi R18 e-tron Qauttro.

The two-time Indy 500 champion teamed with Mitch Evans, who set a best time of 1m42.946s.

Stanaway, an Aston Martin GTE Pro driver, impressed Audi enough for the German manufacturer to allow extra time in the afternoon session.

Newly crowned LMP2 champion, Sam Bird, seized 37 laps in the Toyota TS040 Hybrid, setting a best time of 1m45.318s.

When talking about the his first experience in driving the Porsche machine, an excited Montoya was surprised by the easy transition to the LMP1 machine.

“First impressions of the car is that it is amazing,” Montoya said.

“It is a lot of fun. It has a lot of power and is really stable.

“It is shocking because it is so good that it is actually, in a way, kind of easy.”

Montoya admitted that although easy, he overdrove the car in the early runs during the test.

“It is so predictable that it invites you to hustle the hell out of it,” Montoya continued.

“That is the biggest thing for me.

“I need to figure out the balance between driving it fast and overdriving.”

With crown jewel win in the Monaco Grand Prix and the Indy 500, all that is missing from the Columbian’s resume for a famed Triple Crown is the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Montoya explained that he wants to race at Le Mans one day, but admits it would have to be in an LMP1 car.

“At some point it would be cool to do it. I’ve raced everything, so it would be a cool experience,” Montoya said.

“But if you are going to do Le Mans, it has got to be in a car like this. I’m not interested in doing Le Mans in a GT or a smaller car.”

Image: Porsche

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Joey Barnes is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Motorsports Tribune. He has covered auto racing since 2013 that has spanned from Formula 1 to NASCAR, with coverage on IndyCar. Additionally, his work has appeared on Racer, IndyCar.com and Autoweek magazine. In 2017, he was recognized with an award in Spot News Writing by the National Motorsports Press Association.

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