Helio Castroneves To Run IMSA Next Year; Expected To Keep Running In Indy 500
MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- Team Penske has announced that long-time IndyCar competitor Helio Castroneves will not be a series regular next year.
The team says that Castroneves will compete for their new Acura Team Penske in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Series next season, ending a 18-year run with Team Penske and an over 20-year stint as a regular in the Verizon IndyCare Series. He's the longest tenured driver in Team Penske history.
“I’ve been fortunate to achieve a lot of my personal goals with Team Penske over the years,” said Castroneves. "I am proud of everything we have accomplished together in INDYCAR and now I am focused on helping to develop the ARX-05 to try and win the 24 Hours of Daytona and the IMSA championship in 2018 with Acura."
Castroneves first started with Team Penske in 2000 and won 30 races in that time span, including back-to-back Indianapolis 500's in 2001 and 2002 and a third in 2009.
Team Penske announced earlier this year that it would be forming a new team in IMSA. Castroneves is the first driver that has been confirmed to compete for the team in the upcoming season.
“Helping Roger, the team and everyone with Acura start this program and build it from the ground up will be another big challenge and a great opportunity in my career," Castroneves said of the move.
Castroneves has competed for Team Penske in the past in SportsCar competition, making five starts, producing two poles, three podium finishes and a class victory in the 2008 Petit Le Mans event.
He is not quiting IndyCar cold turkey. Team Penske says that he is expected to compete again in IndyCar with a one-off appearence in the Indianapolis 500 next May.
“I’m also excited to get a chance to race again for Team Penske at the Indianapolis 500," said Castroneves. "That race is near and dear to my heart and trying to become the fourth four-time winner is something I really want to accomplish in my career."
(PHOTO: Robert LaBerge/Getty Images)