Montoya hits Austin once again, expands on Porsche test chance, IndyCar 2016 hopes

AP
1 Comment

AUSTIN, Texas – For a driver who has no immediate plans to race at Circuit of The Americas, Juan Pablo Montoya has certainly made a habit of visiting the permanent road course in Austin.

Last month, Montoya was in Austin for the FIA World Endurance Championship Six Hours of the Circuit of The Americas, as a guest of Porsche Team.

It’s led to a seat-fitting earlier this week, ahead of a test aboard the team’s Porsche 919 Hybrid next month in Bahrain.

And now this weekend, Montoya is back once more for the United States Grand Prix, spotted in the McLaren garage – his last F1 team.

The reigning Indianapolis 500 champion caught up with NBC’s Will Buxton during the non-driving qualifying show on NBCSN, to discuss a variety of topics.

“She wanted to come visit,” Montoya said of wife Connie, when talking to Buxton. “I’m doing (some) TV for Latin America. It’s a new experience. Yesterday, I was celebrating the end-of-year party with Verizon. The Penske guys were all happy with that.”

The conversation inevitably and invariably turned to Montoya’s upcoming Porsche test.

Montoya downplayed immediate hopes of his racing next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, which has been discussed as a possibility with Nico Hulkenberg likely ruled out due to a date clash with the first European Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan.

“I think it’s exciting. People are making a big deal out of it,” Montoya told Buxton.

“For me it’s just a great opportunity Porsche gave me to drive the car. There’s no compromise. I’m just testing the car. The guys at Penske were really good to me. They said, ‘Go have fun.’ That’s what I’m gonna do.

“At the moment I really enjoy what I do,” he added, when asked about the possibility of racing Le Mans next year. “I enjoy racing right now. I have that spark back. There’s good things at Penske. I really enjoy being at Penske. It would take a lot for me to do about something else.”

Montoya has already had one test in preparation for his next season with Penske, his third in the Verizon IndyCar Series, at Road America.

He laughed off a rare unforced error, when he lost control through Turn 14, the final turn on the 4.048-mile road course.

“Yeah we tested there! First time I’d ever gone off in an IndyCar on a road course,” he noted. “The last corner, there’s a patch, I kept telling myself, ‘Go past the patch.’

“So I tried and it didn’t work. I ran out of talent.”

Montoya is literally the only person on the planet who can say he ran out of talent, because he’s arguably one of the greatest talents of his or any racing generation.

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
0 Comments

The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:


Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change