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Montoya Tipped for 24H Le Mans Debut With United Autosports

Juan Pablo Montoya tipped for United Autosports seat for 24 Hours of Le Mans…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

Juan Pablo Montoya could make his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut this year, with the Colombian tipped to join United Autosports for the twice-around-the-clock endurance classic.

Multiple French media outlets, including Auto Hebdo and Le Maine Libre, are reporting that the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner is in discussions to drive one of the team’s Ligier JS P217 Gibsons in the race.

Sportscar365, meanwhile, understands that a deal is close to being reached, with talks having accelerated during last weekend’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Team manager Max Gregory told Ouest-France: “We would like to run Juan Pablo at Le Mans this year, but we have no commitment at the moment.”

A United Autosports spokesperson, meanwhile told Sportscar365 they’re talking to “a number of drivers” and a decision will be made shortly.

Should a deal materialize, it would mark the latest high-profile driver to join the Anglo-American team, following Fernando Alonso’s sports car racing debut in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, alongside McLaren junior Lando Norris and Phil Hanson.

Hanson and Filipe Albuquerque are currently the only two drivers confirmed in the team’s No. 22 Ligier for Le Mans, with a third seat open in its second LMP2 entry, alongside Hugo de Sadeleer and Will Owen.

Montoya, who has shifted to full-time prototype racing this year with Acura Team Penske in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, has already achieved two-thirds of the so-called ‘triple crown of motorsport’, with wins at Indy in 2000 and 2015 and victory in the 2003 Monaco Grand Prix.

However, a class win at Le Mans would not count towards towards the unofficial crown, although a LMP2 car led the race outright at one point last year.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Kurt

    March 21, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    Very cool! I vote Cameron and Montoya with Hanson for Leman.

    • Travis McBee

      March 21, 2018 at 9:49 pm

      Nope, Albuquerque is already signed with Hanson for Le Mans, can’t have both Cameron and Monty in that entry, but perhaps the two in separate cars.

  2. SE30ASport

    March 21, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    I know “overall victory” will always be overall, but that seems kind of BS to not count a class win towards a “record”, especially in the instance of an unofficial one like the triple crown.

  3. kevlow

    March 22, 2018 at 10:10 am

    I know Montoya’s history and reputation, he is a huge international draw. But, I have been more impressed with Helio Castroneves in the Penske Acuras. Helio has been quicker, cleaner, more dependable. I watched Juan at Road Atlanta set slower times, make poor decisions causing dangerous situations and contact, and generally have a negative effect on the race.
    For pure on tract performance, I think United would be better off with Helio in the line up. I have always respected Helio but was not a big follower. I think that his skills have not diminished much with age. In contrast, Juan has not shown me the level that I was expecting as a long time fan.

    • SE30ASport

      March 22, 2018 at 10:56 am

      I’ll second that. Juan has been “doing Juan” since coming back to IMSA, driving the Acura like he did the DPs and stock cars. I’m almost hoping it costs the team a win somewhere so Cindric and/or Penske will get real with him. But Helio has seemed to adapt very well to sports cars and being fast while sharing a car. It seems he and Ricky have good initial chemistry. My guess is that between just coming off his month of May schedule and adjusting to his first year in IMSA, maybe Helio wasn’t interested.

  4. Haskellb

    March 22, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    I guess the guy who took out Risi last year wasn’t available.

    • Chris

      March 22, 2018 at 3:38 pm

      owch

    • Travis McBee

      March 22, 2018 at 8:24 pm

      Yeah, because Vaxivière is with TDS.

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