Formula 1
01 Aug
-
04 Aug
Event finished
29 Aug
-
01 Sep
FP1 in
5 days
MotoGP
09 Aug
-
11 Aug
Event finished
23 Aug
-
25 Aug
WU in
12 Hours
:
25 Minutes
:
59 Seconds
NASCAR Cup
15 Aug
-
17 Aug
Event finished
R
Darlington
30 Aug
-
01 Sep
Next event in
5 days
IndyCar
16 Aug
-
18 Aug
Event finished
22 Aug
-
24 Aug
Race in
05 Hours
:
25 Minutes
:
59 Seconds
WEC
R
Silverstone
30 Aug
-
01 Sep
FP1 in
5 days
04 Oct
-
06 Oct
FP1 in
40 days
Supercars
26 Jul
-
28 Jul
Event finished
23 Aug
-
25 Aug
Event in progress . . .
Formula E
14 Jul
-
14 Jul
Event finished
R
Ad Diriyah E-prix
22 Nov
-
23 Nov
Next event in
89 days

Montoya says he has "no pressure" on Le Mans debut

shares
comments
Montoya says he has "no pressure" on Le Mans debut
By:
Jun 8, 2018, 9:52 AM

Ex-Formula 1 and IndyCar ace Juan Pablo Montoya says he has "no pressure" to do well on his Le Mans 24 Hours debut next week with the United Autosports LMP2 team.

#32 United Autosports Ligier JSP217 Gibson: Hugo de Sadeleer, Will Owen, Juan Pablo Montoya
#32 United Autosports Ligier JSP217 Gibson: Juan Pablo Montoya
#32 United Autosports Ligier JSP217 Gibson: Hugo de Sadeleer, Will Owen, Juan Pablo Montoya
#32 United Autosports Ligier JSP217 Gibson: Juan Pablo Montoya
#32 United Autosports Ligier JSP217 Gibson: Juan Pablo Montoya
#32 United Autosports Ligier JSP217 Gibson: Hugo de Sadeleer, Will Owen, Juan Pablo Montoya
#32 United Autosports Ligier JSP217 Gibson: Juan Pablo Montoya
#32 United Autosports Ligier JSP217 Gibson: Juan Pablo Montoya
#32 United Autosports Ligier JSP217 Gibson: Hugo de Sadeleer, Will Owen, Juan Pablo Montoya

During last weekend's official test day, Montoya posted the 14th-best LMP2 time in the #32 Ligier JS P217-Gibson he'll share with Will Owen and Hugo de Sadeleer for the La Sarthe classic on June 16/17.

It put him 5.135s off the best time in class set by Nathanael Berthon in the DragonSpeed Oreca, although Filipe Albuquerque in the sister #22 United Ligier was only 2s off the pace.

While Montoya believes there is more speed to come, the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner emphasised that he is racing at Le Mans primarily for enjoyment, not necessarily to win.

Asked if he was satisfied with his pace during the test day and the gap to the Oreca cars, he replied: "Yes and no.

"I think the gap is smaller than what it was last year, a lot smaller, [although] I think the gap is still a little bit there. But you don’t know what fuel level everybody is. I think there’s a lot of lap time there.

"For me the opportunity came, I thought it would be cool to come and enjoy, live it. There’s really no pressure. If we get a good result, great. If we didn’t, it’s okay too."

Flashback: Mario Andretti at Le Mans in 1995

Montoya contrasted his situation to that of ex-F1 rival Fernando Alonso, who will be gunning for outright victory with the Toyota LMP1 squad.

"The position that Fernando is in, if he doesn’t win he’s an idiot," the Colombian added. "If you finish second it means your teammates just beat you. They are so far ahead from the other cars.

"He’s in a great position, but it’s a different position that I’m in and it’s okay. I'm happy where I am."

The 42-year-old also said he was "really surprised" by the quality of the United Autosports team, whose main programmes are in the European Le Mans Series and the North American Endurance Cup element of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

"They have really good guys, good mechanics," Montoya said. "The engineering is very different from what I was expecting but I knew what I was coming into.

"It's very different because most of the engineers come from the factory of the cars, from Ligier. I’m more used to working with an engineer from the team.

"I’m very outspoken so if I don’t like it I’ll let them know. I don’t mean it in a bad way, I just want to have a better car."

Additional reporting by Filip Cleeren and Gary Watkins

Next article
Button: SMP aiming to challenge Rebellion at Le Mans

Previous article

Button: SMP aiming to challenge Rebellion at Le Mans

Next article

The gear change that nearly cost Jaguar a Le Mans win

The gear change that nearly cost Jaguar a Le Mans win
Load comments