Montoya to tackle 24 Hours of Le Mans

Ex-Formula One driver Juan Pablo Montoya will tackle this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans with LMP2 squad United Autosports.

It will be his debut appearance in annual June event, sharing the Anglo-American team’s Ligier-Gibson JSP217s with United regulars Hugo de Sadeleer and Will Owen.

The opportunity gives Montoya the chance of completing the unofficial triple crown of motorsport, whereby if he wins, the 42-year-old will add a Le Mans victory it to his accolades, which already include the other two-thirds of the triple crown, being the Monaco Grand Prix and Indy 500.

In 2000, Montoya won his first of two Indy 500s, the second coming in 2015 with American power house Team Penkse, who operate Acura Team Penske of which he is competing the IMSA SportsCar Championship with.

The Colombian’s breakthrough Monaco Grand Prix triumph came in 2003 alongside Williams-BMW on the streets of the prominently French city, before his contentious exit from Formula One in 2006.

Since then, Montoya has encountered stints full time in NASCAR, IndyCar and most recently IMSA as well as taking part in the Race of Champions.

His latest commitment with United Autosports at Le Mans thrusts him back into the European motorsport landscape.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to experience Le Mans and I’m looking forward to joining United Autosports after they had such a strong finish last year [in fifth position],” said Montoya.

“I’ve always watched the race, so I’m very happy to finally be part of it. Hopefully we can have a shot at a win.”

“Juan Pablo has been around racing for a long time now and he knows what it takes to win,” added United chairman Zak Brown.

“I’m sure he will bring experience and speed to the team, which is exactly what we need for such a demanding race as Le Mans.”

Meanwhile, United co-owner Richard Dean is looking forward to welcoming Montoya to the team.

“I watched Juan Pablo race against us at Daytona this year and was so impressed by him through the traffic; he definitely hasn’t lost any of his speed or determination,” he said.

“He’s a great character, so I have no doubt that he will fit into the team well at Le Mans.”

United are yet to announce a third driver to share its other car with Filipe Albuquerque and Phil Hanson, who are contesting the European Le Man Series as a duo, however Paul di Resta, who contested the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Sebring 12 Hours with the squad is believed to be a hot candidate.

Two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso will also be making his Le Mans debut this June after inking a drive with Toyota for the 2018/19 WEC superseason in his own bid to complete the triple crown – which previously has only been achieved by Graham Hill.

The 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans will take place on from June 16-17.