Interview With J.P. Montoya Conducted At Auto Club Speedway
In an interview with past North American open-wheel CART champion, F1, Indianapolis 500, and the 24 Hours of Daytona race winning driver, Juan Pablo Montoya (JPM) at Auto Club Speedway on Monday (audio below), he was very clear on this difference in driving a DW12 over a NASCAR Cup Car.
On Tuesday, Penske Racing team-mate Helio Castroneves and JPM took to the reconfigured and updated ‘oval’ track in Phoenix. After a very productive outing, JPM shared his thoughts with IndyCar .
This excerpted and edited from IndyCar.com –
Montoya’s testing program includes two fast ovals
By Dave Lewandowski – Published: Dec 10, 2013
Juan Pablo Montoya completed Round 2 of his acclimation to the Chevrolet-powered No. 2 Team Penske car Dec. 10. This outing was on the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway oval.
Last month, the 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner tested on the 1.65-mile Sebring International Raceway short course. Up next is a rescheduled session Dec. 12 at the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway oval and a Dec. 16 date at the 2.385-mile, 12-turn Sonoma Raceway. Helio Castroneves, the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series championship runner-up and three-time Indy 500 champion, and four-time 500 Mile Race champion Rick Mears joined Montoya at Phoenix.
“Well, my first impression was when Helio started running. We did some laps in the road car and I said in NASCAR we brake here and here,” Montoya relayed. “And he was like, ‘No, this is going to be wide open.’ I’m like, ‘What?’ I will tell you, if you are standing in pit road and watch in Turn 1 how the car goes. In the straight it just goes fast, but you don’t really realize how fast he’s going until he turns and the thing just snaps into the corner. And then you like into (Turns) 3 and 4 and you know, ‘Wow.’ Your foot never moved. For me, the big difference is the entry to the corner. Once you get to the middle of the corner, whatever speed you have, you are committed to. You can see the exit, too, and you’re like, ‘Ahhh.’
“You just want to build to it and get comfortable with the feel. I’m still understanding what the car wants and what I want out of the car. You forget how fast an open-wheel car is (on the Phoenix oval). Around 6 seconds quicker than a Cup car a lap.”
“It’s funny because it’s a lighter car, but the wheel is like – everybody complained when I ran NASCAR how heavy my wheel was, everybody that drove my car, and honestly because we have no power steering, that’s how heavy it is,” Montoya continued. “What I remember, road courses, I understand it’s heavy, but I never thought that it would be heavy on an oval, but it’s like, ‘Hold your breath and turn.’ It’s breathtaking. The more laps I do, the easier it becomes, and it’s just that little bit.”
Our Senior Indycar and F1 Editor, Edmund Jenks, caught up with Juan Pablo Montoya during a scheduled testing session at Fontana this week which was postponed due to high Santa Ana winds. Click photo above to launch audio of interview (6:13)
Edmund Jenks – Juan Pablo Montoya – Dec. 9, 2013 – Interview Audio
JPM elaborated that the cockpit is much tighter than a stock car, so consequently, the arms use different muscles – it is like the difference between having the steering wheel very close to one’s chest and the elbows out (Cup style) vs having one’s arms straight out in front with less side-to-side leverage (Indy style) in order to turn the steering wheel – again, this requires the use of different muscles. Juan Pablo shared that this revelation has had him change his gym training regimen in order to build up the correct set of muscles in his arms.
Following a break for the holidays, Montoya will join Castroneves and Will Power for a manufacturer test in mid-January at Sebring. An Open Test is scheduled for March 16-17 at Barber Motorsports Park, and the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is March 28-30.
… notes from The EDJE