Castroneves eyes record-tying Indy 500 title in 2018

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Helio Castroneves of Brazil is aiming for a record-trying fourth Indianapolis 500 in May next year with Team Penske that has also tapped his services for a full-time racing role in sports car competition.

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Castroneves finished second in last May’s Indianapolis 500 behind Takuma Sato of Japan, the first Asian to win the historic race.

Castroneves will attempt to make his 18th career start in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on May 27 next year. He won the race in 2001, 2002 and 2009, and second in 2003, 2014 and this year.

Team Penske will join Castroneves with two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron in one of the team’s two Acura ARX-05 Daytona Prototype International (DPi) entries next season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Helio Castroneves AFP PHOTO

“I’ve been fortunate to achieve a lot of my personal goals with Team Penske over the years,” said Castroneves, the longest-tenured driver in team history. “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. 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.”

“I’m also excited to get a chance to race again for Team Penske at the Indianapolis 500. 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. We’ve come so close the last few years and with this team, I know we will have a great opportunity to try and make some history,” he added.

AJ Foyt (1961, 1964, 1967, 1977), Al Unser (1970, 1971, 1978, 1987) and Rick Mears (1979, 1984, 1988, 1991) are the only drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 four times.

“Helio has been a valuable member of Team Penske for almost 20 years, and we are looking forward to sharing more success together,” team owner Roger Penske said. “Competitors like Helio, Rick Mears and Mark Donohue are what have made Team Penske what it is today. This represents a new challenge for him, and I know he is excited about the opportunity.”

Castroneves will transition to the Team Penske sports car program after 18 successful seasons with the organization’s Verizon IndyCar Series team. Castroneves finished fourth in this year’s championship standings, marking the 14th time in his career that he has finished inside the top five in the season-ending rankings. Over the course of his 20-year IndyCar career, Castroneves has produced 30 wins and 51 pole positions, including one win and three poles in 2017.

Considered one of the all-time greats in IndyCar history, Castroneves has earned more wins than any other driver in the history of Team Penske’s championship open-wheel racing program.

Team Penske is the winningest team in Indianapolis 500 history, with 16 victories. It also holds the event record for pole positions, with 17.

THE TIMES

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