Juan Pablo Montoya has kicked off his return to open-wheel racing with a successful maiden IndyCar test for Team Penske at the Sebring circuit yesterday.
After his 2014 teammate Will Power gave the Chevrolet-powered Dallara DW12 a cursory shakedown, the Colombian took over the controls in his first open-wheel racer outing since he quit the McLaren Formula 1 team in mid-2006.
Post-F1, Montoya spent the next six-and-a-half years competing in the NASCAR scene with rather limited success.
In September, the seven-time Grand Prix winner announced that he was quitting NASCARs and return to open-wheel racing with Team Penske’s three-car team for the 2014 IndyCar Series season.
Speaking ahead of the Sebring test, Montoya admitted to being nervous and excited at the prospect of switching back to the IndyCar scene:
After finishing runner-up and then winning the International Formula 3000 Championship in 1997-8, Montoya moved to the now-defunct CART championship with Chip Ganassi Racing in 1999, incredibly winning the championship in his rookie year with seven race wins.
He added a further three CART wins the following year, as well as winning the Indianapolis 500.
That year was also spent preparing for his Formula 1 debut with Williams the following year. In his rookie F1 campaign, he claimed three pole positions and victory at the Italian Grand Prix, adding a further six wins to this tally while moving to McLaren in 2005.
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