Juan Pablo Montoya will pay tribute to Peter Revson No. 86 McLaren for Indy 500


Juan Pablo Montoya will pay tribute to Peter Revson in the 105th running of the Indy 500 in the No. 86 McLaren.

In March, Arrow McLaren SP announced Montoya’s bid for the iconic race would be sponsored by Mission Foods. This week, they revealed the livery, which will be orange and white – similar to the scheme used by Revson when he won the pole for the 1971 Indy 500.

Before qualification, Roger Penske’s pilot Mark Donohue was the driver to beat. Donohue had already unofficially topped the 180 mile per hour barrier in practice and backed it up with an impressive time when the money was on the line.

Revson’s weekend was not going smoothly, however. He blew an engine the day before Pole Day, setting off a flurry of activity to prepare a new Offenhauser powerplant. Meanwhile, Donohue was showing signs of vulnerability. He had already completed a four-lap qualifying run with an average speed of 177.089 mph, more than three miles per hour off his top speed from earlier in the month.

Revson smelled blood in the water and told his team, “If this thing runs, I’ll burst their bubble!”

And that is what he did. Revson set a four-lap average of 178.696 mph to set a new track record and snatch the pole from second-place Donohue. Bobby Unser qualified third to round out the first row.

When asked what made the difference in his pole-winning run, Revson replied: “The McLaren is a great car; I’m not kidding myself on that.”

Revson finished second in the 1971 Indy 500 behind Al Unser in his No. 86 McLaren / Offenhauser.

Fast forward 50 years, and the iconic orange and white No. 86 McLaren will be wheeled by two-time Indy 500 winner Montoya.

Montoya shocked the racing world when he won his first Indy 500 in his first attempt. Driving for Chip Ganassi in 2000, he started the race second on the grid. He left Indy to race Formula 1 in 2001 and won at Monza in his first year with Williams before switching to McLaren in 2005. Montoya won in his first season with that team as well.

Three of Montoya’s seven F1 wins came with McLaren.

Montoya won his second Indy 500 in 2015, but he has not yet won a pole.

“I’ve really missed this race so I can’t wait to compete in my first Indianapolis 500 since 2017,” Montoya said in a release. “It is extra-special to carry the No. 86 on my Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, honoring the incredible drive by Peter Revson for the pole for McLaren in 1971. This team is a great mixture of rich history and exciting promise, so it will be a thrill to join them as I compete for my third Indianapolis 500 victory.”

Ford Mustang GT3 test has Austin Cindric dreaming of Daytona: ‘I want to drive that car’

Cindric Ford GT3 test
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Austin Cindric wasn’t the “mystery” test driver behind the wheel of the new Ford Mustang GT3 at Sebring International Raceway, but the Team Penske driver desperately wanted to be.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, an amateur sports car driver himself, made the big reveal via a Tuesday tweet that provided the first video evidence of the GT3 Mustang on track.

“I’ve watched the video in question about a million times,” Cindric said Wednesday during a Ford Performance Zoom news conference to promote NASCAR’s first road course weekend of the season at Circuit of the Americas. “Definitely exciting times for sure. I want to drive that car. It suits my experience level and also the relationships that I have.”

Ford will enter the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next season with its GT3 Mustang, entering a two-car factory effort (that will be managed by Multimatic) in GTD Pro and making customer cars available in the GT Daytona category.

That increases the likelihood of seeing more NASCAR drivers crossing over to IMSA. Cindric has been the only full-time Cup driver in the Rolex 24 at Daytona the past two years, but Ford Performance global director Mark Rushbrook has said the GT3 Mustang will provide more opportunities.

Ford has used its GT4 Mustang as a NASCAR driver development tool in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge with Harrison Burton and Zane Smith combining to win the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in January.

“We’re excited about the Next Gen car and the new architecture there and the similarities between that car and GT3 and even GT4 cars,” Rushbrook said at the announcement of the Ford GT3 program in January 2022 at Daytona. “We think it’s a great opportunity and to do be able to do that in a 24-hour race and get NASCAR drivers even more time is something we need to consider taking advantage of that opportunity.”

Given his sports car background, Cindric probably still would be in the Rolex 24 regardless. He has eight IMSA starts since the 2017 season opener at Daytona, racing a Lexus RCF GT3 and Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the GT category. The 2022 Daytona 500 winner made his second LMP2 start this year with Rick Ware Racing.

But Cindric’s preference naturally would be in a Ford, particularly with sports car racing enjoying convergence and crossovers in both GT and prototype racing.

“It’s an exciting time in GT racing, just as it is now for prototype racing with a lot of new regulations and manufacturers building new GT3 cars,” he said. “And also the opportunity with WEC (the World Endurance Championship) and Le Mans and how that all lines up for that category of car. It’s definitely an exciting time. I want to be as much of a part of that as possible.”

Though those odds seemingly will increase with multiple Ford entries in the Rolex 24 field next year, Cindric said NASCAR drivers still have to put in the networking to land rides as he has in recent years.

“Now how (the GT3 Mustang) relates to specifically NASCAR drivers and how often they want to be in the Rolex, could it be an influence? Absolutely, as far as the tie-in with the manufacturer,” Cindric said. “But the challenge and the drive and the logistics of getting an opportunity for a race like the Rolex 24 will be just as challenging as it always is to find your one-off ride for the race. At least from my experience, that’s what I still anticipate.”

It turned out the “mystery” test driver wasn’t from NASCAR (Farley revealed the driver to be 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Joey Hand after a fan asked whether it was Joey Logano).

But Cindric believes there could be more Cup drivers — and perhaps himself — behind the wheel of Mustang GT3s in the future.

“There’s definitely more of a pathway than I think there would be before as far as Ford drivers are concerned,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll get the opportunity to drive that thing. It’s obviously a great looking car. That’s the first box you’ve got to check. And it’s cool (to have) a guy like Jim Farley, no doubt he’s a racer just as much as he is steering the ship for Ford. It’s cool to see he’s just as excited as the rest of us about it.”