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Juan Pablo Montoya fast, thrilled by Porsche LMP1 test debut (VIDEO)

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Yeah, we can put to bed the notion that Juan Pablo Montoya will be racing the Porsche 919 Hybrid in 2016 – at least in actuality, because in theory, the dream of JPM racing one of the world’s most technologically advanced race cars is a tantalizing prospect.

But with Montoya having completed his first test aboard the rocketship on wheels today at the Bahrain International Circuit, we at least know a reference point what he’s capable of.

Montoya, who’s far from a rookie, led the Bahrain Rookie Test the day after the conclusion of the FIA World Endurance Championship event yesterday with a best time of 1:40.861.

Other notable runners included Mitch Evans also in the Porsche 919 Hybrid, Sam Bird at Toyota Gazoo Racing, Richie Stanaway at Audi Sport Team Joest and Nick Catsburg and Phillip Eng in the Porsche 911 RSR in GTE.

“It’s so predictable that it just invites you to hustle the hell out of it. That’s been the biggest thing for me so far. I need to figure out that balance of driving it fast and over-driving the car,” Montoya told assembled reporters in Bahrain, via Sportscar365.

“It’s shocking because it’s so good that it’s actually in a way kind of easy. But it’s really easy to go over.”

View some images and a Porsche Vimeo video below.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”