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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:19 pm 
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That was a hot topic this past weekend in Iowa. Helio's response to Robin Miller before the race was he needed to win the race and championship since he'd love to remain in IndyCar. It would be hard to send one of the (if not the) most recognizable and popular drivers to sports cars especially if he's the champion. Guess the rumors were motivation since Helio went on to dominate and win the race on Sunday. /clap

Team Penske president Tim Cindric confirmed Hélio Castroneves' future “includes a lot of things,” such as a full-time sports car program that would also include an Indianapolis 500 ride. But Cindric also told Autoweek that “nothing has been finalized.”

“As I sit there and look at the driver schedule, No. 1, we haven’t even announced a sports-car program yet,” Cindric said. “We are going to do a sports-car program; it’s just a matter of sorting out the details. In short order, we should be able to get that sorted out and then we will decide who will actually drive those cars.

“We are a long way from figuring that one out.”

Cindric admitted the team has talked to the driver from Brazil about the future, including teaming with two-time Indianapolis 500 winning driver Juan Pablo Montoya of Colombia on the yet-to-be-announced sports car team.

“I’ve spoken to Hlio about all kinds of different opportunities, options, futures and all of that,” Cindric said. “What we are clear about is we need to figure all of these different things out, sit down and decide the best thing moving forward. But until we know what the final sports car program is and what our IndyCar program looks like, it’s hard to finalize anything.”

Cindric believes Castroneves remains highly competitive as a full-time Verizon IndyCar Series driver. At 42, he enters Sunday’s Iowa Corn 300 third in the standings, just 37 points behind the leader, Scott Dixon, and three points behind his Team Penske teammate and defending series champion Simon Pagenaud.

“He is driving up at the front,” Cindric continued. “Any sports car program we would run we want drivers to run at the front. It wouldn’t be a retirement program. We need top-notch guys in all of our cars.”

Castroneves is a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, has won 29 races in CART and the Verizon IndyCar Series and has claimed 50 poles.

But the driver from Brazil has never won an IndyCar Series championship.

“Without a doubt, he is someone who has been part of our program for a long time and will be part of our program for a long time to come,” Cindric continued. “Even when we put him in a sports car for a while, he showed he could be competitive in anything we put him in, really. I think he is prepared for whatever situation is there. We haven’t determined what our IndyCar program will look like next year, either.

“A lot of unfinished business, but the good news is we have options.”

Cindric indicated there is a lot of speculation on all fronts. What remains is making the decision and doing what is right for the team.

“There are a lot of different avenues we can go but first things first and the first thing is we need to finalize out sports car program,” Cindric reiterated. “The next step would be to determine who the drivers would be in that. After that, we have to determine, ‘What does our IndyCar program look like?’

“I think we’re in a good place no matter what happens.”

If Castroneves is moved over to a full-time sports car program for Team Penske with an Indy 500 drive, that would reduce Team Penske’s Verizon IndyCar Series lineup to three cars, including 2014 champion Will Power, 2016 champion Simon Pagenaud and exciting newcomer Josef Newgarden.

Castroneves admitted that he has heard the rumors of his move to sports cars but he hasn’t talked to team owner Roger Penske about it. But, he is happy to know that he “has a job” and would “like to stay in IndyCar.”

Read more: http://autoweek.com/article/indycar/tea ... z4mYn3NOb3


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:24 pm 
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Team Penske Partners With Acura To Return To Sports Car Racing In 2018

One of the most successful teams in American racing is returning to the category in which it made its debut in 1966.

Team Penske announced Tuesday that it’s joining forces with Acura to field two of the Japanese manufacturer’s yet-to-be-unveiled ARX-05 DPi racers in the United States-based series starting in 2018, according to Motorsport.com. Acura will join Cadillac, Mazda and Nissan as the fourth automaker in IMSA’s new-for-2017 DPi class.

“We are excited to join forces with the Honda Performance Development family and represent the Acura brand with two prototypes starting in 2018,” Roger Penske said, via Motorsport.com.

Although Penske hasn’t yet confirmed who will drive the two cars, it reportedly has teased the idea of putting Juan Pablo Montoya behind the wheel.

Montoya, a former Formula One driver and two-time Indianapolis 500 champion, currently is a part-time driver for Penske in the Verizon IndyCar Series. The Colombian driver also has experience inside prototype racers, as he was invited to test the Porsche 919 Hybrid, which has won the last three runnings of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, at Bahrain International Circuit.

For Penske, getting his eponymous operation back into sports car racing reportedly has long been in the back of his mind.

“Reviving a Team Penske sports car program has always been a goal for us,” Penske said, “but to do so required strong and successful partners like Honda and Acura.”

Acura currently races NSX GT3 cars in IMSA’s GT Daytona category.

Many assume Honda would be a good choice for NASCAR, which is currently looking to add manufacturers, and Tuesday’s announcement makes that seem more plausible. Much like General Motors, Honda now will compete in IndyCar, one of IMSA’s GT classes and its DPi class — all that’s missing is a NASCAR operation.

Read more at: http://nesn.com/2017/07/team-penske-par ... g-in-2018/


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