Juan Pablo Montoya took part in an IndyCar test at Laguna Seca with Arrow McLaren SP on Wednesday. Will his car number for the Indy 500 match the one used in the test?
For the first time since 2017, two-time Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya is slated to return to IndyCar to compete in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year, and he is set to do so with Arrow McLaren SP.
Arrow McLaren SP formed ahead of last season after McLaren, the team for which the 45-year-old Colombian competed in Formula 1 in 2005 and 2006, formed a partnership with existed IndyCar team Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Montoya is set to compete alongside full-time drivers Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist, who are set to drive the #5 Chevrolet and #7 Chevrolet, respectively, in this 200-lap race around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) oval in Speedway, Indiana.
Montoya’s car number, however, had not been revealed, despite that announcement having been made back in early December.
He is only currently slated to compete in the 105th running of the Indy 500 for the team in late May, but he tested one of their Chevrolet-powered cars at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Monday.
The team posted pictures of Montoya’s car from the test at the 11-turn, 2.238-mile (3.602-kilometer) natural terrain road course in Monterey, California. During the test, Montoya is driving the #66 Chevrolet.
This would make sense, and the number 66 was always the most likely option for Montoya, despite no confirmation — and still technically no confirmation. However, the car number was officially listed as number 86.
When McLaren entered a car for two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso in the 2019 Indy 500 before forming their partnership with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, that car was the #66 Chevrolet.
Then last season, Arrow McLaren SP’s third entry for the race, also driven by Alonso, was the #66 Chevrolet. The team had long stated that the #6 Chevrolet is reserved for whenever Robert Wickens is able to return to the cockpit following his crash at Pocono Raceway in August 2018, which left him paralyzed from the waist down.
The number 6 has only been used twice since that crash, with that being in the two races in which Carlos Munoz replaced him behind the wheel to close out the 2018 season at Portland International Raceway and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
The 105th running of the Indy 500 is scheduled to take place on Sunday, May 30. The 2021 season is scheduled to get underway on Sunday, April 18 at Barber Motorsports Park following three coronavirus pandemic restriction-related schedule changes.