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Msr Imsa Driver Lineup 16x9 10202021

Motul Petit Le Mans Rounds out Castroneves’ Magical Year

Already a Winner at the Rolex 24 and Indy 500 in 2021, He Joins Meyer Shank Racing for the Season Finale

 

By Jeff Olson

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – It has been a magical year for Helio Castroneves.

 

In November 2020, he won the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship title in the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class – the first season crown for the popular Brazilian in more than two decades of professional racing.

 

In January 2021, Castroneves won the Rolex 24 At Daytona for the first time. In May, he won the Indianapolis 500 a record-tying fourth time. In July, he signed with Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian to run the full IndyCar Series schedule in 2022.

 

Now, at 46 years old, Castroneves is adding the Motul Petit Le Mans to the magic.

 

Castroneves will compete in the 24th running of the annual 10-hour endurance race next month for MSR, which announced Wednesday that Castroneves will join Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya for a power-packed lineup in the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 DPi at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

 

It’s all for the continuing love of the sport, Castroneves said.

 

“Man, I’m telling you, I love this thing,” he said. “This is my passion. This is the air that I breathe. I love it. I just love it! Obviously, I want to keep it going as long as I’m competitive, as long as I still have the desire.”

 

MSR co-owner Michael Shank signed Castroneves to a partial-season IndyCar deal for 2021 after Castroneves’ 21-year run with Team Penske ended. That led to the improbable Indy victory, Shank’s first win in the IndyCar Series.

 

“Between winning the Rolex to start the year and then winning the Indy 500 with us, it’s a pretty amazing year for him,” Shank said. “It’s hard to get those two things done in one year, but he managed to do that.”

 

Castroneves tied A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears and Al Unser for most Indy 500 victories. It also was his 31st IndyCar win in a career that spans 24 years.

 

Castroneves has competed in 36 IMSA races during his career, with seven victories and 17 podium finishes to date. In January, he teamed with Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Alexander Rossi to win the Rolex 24 for Wayne Taylor Racing in another Acura.

 

The Rolex victory followed the 2020 WeatherTech Championship title with Ricky Taylor and Team Penske.

 

“I’m still the defending champ,” Castroneves said with a laugh. “I’m still there until the last race of the year. I’m excited to be back again and driving with Juan Pablo and Dane. It’s super cool.”

 

The trio form a super team of racing. Combined, they’ve accumulated 46 IndyCar wins including six at the Indy 500, 28 IMSA victories and five season championships (including one that Montoya and Cameron shared in a Team Penske DPi in 2019), four Rolex 24 triumphs and one at the Twelve Hours of Sebring. Not to mention Montoya’s seven Formula One and two NASCAR Cup Series victories and Cameron’s two other WeatherTech Championship titles – GTD in 2014 and Daytona Prototype in 2016. But none of the three has an overall Motul Petit Le Mans victory (Castroneves won the LMP2 class in 2008) – yet.

 

Castroneves’ tireless commitment to his craft impresses his boss and is a reason Shank added him to the roster for the 2021 season finale.

 

“It says a lot about him, his character and his willingness to keep putting the work in after all these years,” Shank said. “He still puts the work in. It’s a hallmark of a great driver. To this day, he still puts as much work into it as any young guy coming through. That really shows.”

 

Activities surrounding Motul Petit Le Mans begin Nov. 10 and conclude Nov. 13 with the 10-hour race around Michelin Raceway’s 12-turn, 2.54-mile circuit. Tickets are available now at roadatlanta.com.

 

Live coverage begins at noon ET on NBC before moving to NBCSN at 3 p.m. through the race conclusion. Nonstop coverage is also available on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold and IMSA Radio.