Simon Pagenaud will switch camps during the IndyCar Series off-season, with Team Penske announcing an increase to a four-car stable for the 2015 season. The championship-winners will field the Frenchman alongside its incumbent trio of newly-crowned champion Will Power, Hélio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya.
Pagenaud joins the race-winning trio – who finished first, second and fourth in the 2014 standings – after a three-year stint with the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports stable. He looked a contender for championship honours himself with wins at the Indianapolis road course and Houston, but faded to fifth in the standings.
“Simon Pagenaud is a very talented, focused and determined driver,” Team Penske boss Roger Penske said.
“We know how tough he has been to compete with over the last few seasons and we are very happy to welcome him to Team Penske starting in 2015. With Simon coming on board to join Will, Helio and Juan, we feel we have four drivers very capable of winning on any given weekend and four guys who are legitimate championship contenders.”
Pagenaud will drive the team’s #22 Chevrolet-powered entry, although exactly which sponsors will be backing the effort is not yet known.
One interesting point will be how Pagenaud gels with Power, with whom he clashed on a number of occasions in 2014. The pair used to be teammates during their ChampCar days with the Team Australia outfit, but the relationship has certainly cooled in recent years.
The 30-year-old’s switch could trigger a major reshuffling of drivers among other teams, and this is likely to see Andretti Autosports driver James Hinchcliffe move into Pagenaud’s now-vacated seat at SPM.
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