Juan Pablo Montoya will race WEC and Le Mans with DragonSpeed next season

Juan Pablo Montoya WEC
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Juan Pablo Montoya will race in the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2021, joining DragonSpeed in its return to the WEC in the LMP2 category with co-drivers Henrik Hedman and Ben Hanley.

After running full time in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship with Acura Team Penske (and winning the 2019 championship), Montoya will join the 10Star DragonSpeed LMP2 after finishing 49th with the American-based team at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in September.

“I’m really excited to be joining DragonSpeed for the full WEC season,” Montoya, a two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, said in a release. “I had an amazing experience with them this year at Le Mans and I’m looking forward to racing again at so many classic venues with such a great group of people.”

Montoya is a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner (2000, ’15) who also has victories in Formula One and the NASCAR Cup Series. With victories at Indy and the Monaco Grand Prix, Montoya is a 24 Hours of Le Mans victory from completing auto racing’s “Triple Crown” that only Graham Hill has achieved (Fernando Alonso has chased an Indy 500 victory to complete it).

DragonSpeed has class victories in the WEC, European Le Mans Series and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The team also has run in the NTT IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500 over the past two years, but the team said in a release that it was “shelving” its IndyCar program to focus fully on LMP2 next year.

In addition to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the other five races in the WEC schedule, DragonSpeed also will return Jan. 30-31 to the Rolex 24 at Daytona to run for an LMP2 class victory in the race.

The WEC season will begin March 19 at Sebring International Raceway, where Montoya finished second overall with Cameron and Simon Pagenaud in his final Penske race last weekend.

Montoya becomes the third of four Acura Team Penske drivers to confirm their future plans with the team disbanding after the 2020 season. Helio Castroneves (who will run six IndyCar races) and Dane Cameron (who will remain in an Acura DPi in IMSA) are joining Meyer Shank Racing. It’s yet to be made official, but Ricky Taylor is expected to return to Wayne Taylor Racing, which is taking one of Penske’s Acura slots in 2021.

DragonSpeed will be basing its WEC team at a new location in Spain near the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Hedman and Hanley teamed with Rolex 24 winner Renger van der Zande to finish 16th overall in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Said Hedman said: “It’s an honor to welcome Juan to the squad. We have a lot to look forward to having seen his contributions on and off track at Le Mans this year.”

“I couldn’t be more excited to continue with DragonSpeed and return to the WEC in 2021,” said Hanley, who made four IndyCar starts, including two Indy 500s, over the past two years. “It’s great to be able to commit to the program early, which will allow plenty of time to tune ourselves in to next year’s new tires and engine changes. With Juan on board and Henrik’s terrific performances in 2020, everything is in place for a successful season.”

Supercross reveals 2023 Daytona track designed by Ricky Carmichael for 16th time

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For the 16th consecutive year, Ricky Carmichael has designed a signature course for the Daytona Supercross race, which will be March 4, 2023.

Eli Tomac took advantage of a last lap mistake by Cooper Webb last year to win a record setting sixth Daytona race – and with that win, he broke out of a tie Carmichael.

Construction on the course will begin two days after the completion of the 65th running of NASCAR’s Daytona 500 when haulers start to unload 7,200 tons of dirt onto the grassy infield in order to create a course 3,300 feet long.

“Ricky has designed yet another incredible course for this year’s Daytona Supercross,” said Daytona International Speedway President Frank Kelleher in a press release. “We’re thrilled to unveil it to the fans, and we can’t wait for them to come out to the track and see it in person.”

MORE: Designs for SuperMotocross finals at zMax Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway

Carmichael’s Daytona course will take center stage for Round 8 of the 17-race Supercross season and the 31-race SuperMotocross season.

The Supercross race coincides with Daytona’s Bike Week, which runs from March 3-12 and includes races from the American Flat Track series and the legendary Daytona 200 speedway race that is contested on the infield road course.

Last year’s course was reported to have 57 obstacles including the return of an over-under bridge. For 2023 the number of obstacles listed in 42, but that will not keep this from being one of the toughest tracks on which the Monster Energy Supercross series will race.

Many of the same elements from last year will be present including sharp turns, vaulted jumps, sand sections and a finish line that aligns with the oval tracks’ start/finish line.

“This year’s Daytona Supercross design is one of the best,” Carmichael said. “It races great for the riders – it’s safe yet challenging and it’s very similar to last year with the split lanes. Daytona is the toughest, gnarliest race on the Supercross circuit, but it’s the most special to win.

“This track is going to produce great racing and I think the riders are going to put on a fantastic display for all our fans.”

While Tomac has dominated this race during his career, Daytona has also been the site of some other dramatic victories. In 2021 Aaron Plessinger scored his first career Supercross podium in 35 starts with a win there and reversed a three-year streak of bad luck on the track.

The Daytona Supercross race is the first of two the series will contest on speedway infield courses. A little more than one month later, Atlanta Motor Speedway will enter their third season as a supercross venue. These two courses will serve as an early test for the SuperMotocross three-race finale that begins September 9, 2023 at zMax Dragway in Charlotte, North Carolina. The three playoff races will each be held on courses that contain elements of Supercross and Motocross, much like Daytona and Atlanta.