Our latest guest is double Indy 500 winner and ex F1 star, Juan Pablo Montoya.
Join us as we discuss everything from F3000 to F1 to winning some of Motorsport’s crown jewels and much more.
- What was it like racing in the Colombia Formula Renault Series, when you first entered professional racing?
Montoya: Racing in Colombia was a lot of fun but the level was really poor.
- When you first moved to Europe in 1995 to compete in Formula Vauxhall, how did you cope with the move after spending your childhood in the warm weather of Colombia?
Montoya: It was very hard because I didn’t speak English.
- After winning the F3000 Series in 1998, you moved Stateside to CART and won the championship at your first attempt as a rookie, on countback to Dario Franchitti. How surprised were you at achieving that feat as a rookie driver to become CART’s youngest ever World Champion?
Montoya in action en route to 1999 CART title. (photo taken by Peter Burke)
Montoya: That is the consequence of being in a great time and working with one of the best engineers – Morris Nun. Obviously coming from such a competitive series that F3000 was helped raise my level of racing a lot.
- 2001 saw you make the leap into Formula One at a time when Ferrari dominated so what was it like battling the likes of Michael and Ralf Schumacher, David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen?
Montoya: I think it was an amazing time for F1. Although Ferrari dominated the level of racing was great.
- During your F1 stint, you claimed seven wins with all coming at highly popular tracks including Monaco, but which circuit was your favourite to race at across five and a half years in the sport?
Montoya racing around Suzuka. (Getty Images)
Montoya: Definitely Suzuka was the track that I most liked.
- Having quit McLaren midway through 2006, you spent several years in NASCAR. For younger fans, why did you decide to leave F1 for NASCAR at a time when the sport was about to become more competitive again in the post Schumacher era of 2007-09 when you could of potentially won a world championship?
Montoya: I left F1 because I just found a new opportunity in NASCAR and thought that it was a good moment to change.
- 2014-16 saw a move to Indycar so what was it like adapting to being back in open wheel racing after seven years away, before going on to miss out on 2015 Indycar title via countback?
Montoya: It was nice going back to Indycar (Formerly known as IRL in 2000) and especially being part of Team Penske.
- With 3x Daytona Rolex 24 and 2x Indy 500 wins alongside a sole Monaco Grand Prix victory to your name so far, what would winning Le Mans mean to you in terms of competing Motorsport’s crown jewels, having first raced in the iconic race a couple of weeks ago?
Montoya: I really don’t race because of titles. I love to race and love to win.
This was my first time at Le Mans which I found to be an amazing track. If this comes together again and I can race there, it would be great.
- Finally, what are your plans for the future?
Montoya: At this point in life, I don’t plan much. When things come up, I make decisions.
I am very focused on my ACURA/Penske drive in the IMSA Championship, Sebastian’s racing and my family.
I have started to help younger kids starting to race in Formula and have my own Go-Kart team in the US so am pretty busy.