Juan Pablo Montoya is set for his second career start in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the Colombian having joined DragonSpeed as a replacement for Pipo Derani.
The reigning IMSA DPi champion will team up with Memo Rojas and Timothé Buret in the American-flagged team’s No. 21 Oreca 07 Gibson LMP2 entry for next weekend’s endurance classic in a late driver change.
When reached by Sportscar365, team owner Elton Julian declined to comment on specifics as it’s understood the driver change is subject to the ACO’s approval.
Montoya made his Le Mans debut in 2018 at the wheel of a United Autosports Ligier JS P217 Gibson, which finished third in class due to a post-race exclusion by the LMP2 class-winning car.
The 44-year-old, who is in his final year with the soon-to-be-dissolved Acura Team Penske program in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, has long talked about his desire to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Should Montoya do so overall, he would become the second driver to complete the so-called ‘triple crown’ of motorsports with wins at Le Mans, the Indianapolis 500 and Monaco Grand Prix.
DragonSpeed’s second LMP2 class Oreca is set to be driven by Ben Hanley, Henrik Hedman and Renger van der Zande, who ironically drives for rival DPi squad Wayne Taylor Racing, which had been involved a contentious pit lane accident last weekend at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta between Montoya and WTR’s Ryan Briscoe.
Montoya is understood to have already arrived in Europe ahead of the Sept. 19-20 race.
Derani Stands Down from Le Mans Drive
The Brazilian, meanwhile, said he elected not to take part in this year’s race and has wished DragonSpeed well in its endeavors.
“The circumstances were not completely right for me to be at Le Mans this year and ultimately it was agreed it was not the right course of action for us to race together on this occasion, he told Sportscar365.
“I wish the team all the best for Le Mans and look forward to being back at the race, which I have competed in and being successful at with a factory team in the past, in 2021.”