Former Williams and McLaren F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya will race for Team Penske in the IZOD IndyCar Series next season, it has been announced.
The Colombian, who has been competing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing in recent years, will drive the #2 Team Penske car, taking in the full-season and linking up with Will Power and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves
“I am really excited to join this legendary team beginning next year,” said Montoya, who raced in IndyCar in 1999 and 2000, albeit in its old CART guise, winning the title in his rookie season and then winning the Indy 500 the following year with the Chip Ganassi Racing team.
“I have had the opportunity to drive for some of the best racing teams in the world and I have always admired Roger Penske and his organisation. I consider it an honour to be offered the opportunity to drive for Team Penske.”
Team owner and boss Roger Penske added: “Juan is a proven winner at all levels of motorsport. He has won a lot of races and championships and he has an extremely passionate fan base.
“We look forward to building on his successes together and we believe he will be a great addition to Team Penske.”
News of Montoya's exit from NASCAR broke last month
when the 37-year-old was informed his contract with Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing would not be renewed when it expires at the end of the current season. His successor, Kyle Larson
was then confirmed a few weeks later.
Montoya had been expected to consider other possible seats in NASCAR, with Furniture Row Racing among those said to be interested as they seek a replacement for Kurt Busch in 2014 with similar stature in the sport.
A return to the IndyCar Series had also been mooted. However the team most strongly connected with the idea of bringing Montoya back to US open wheel racing, Andretti Autosports, said last week that Montoya had turned down their offer of a race seat.
Many interpreted this at the time as a sign that Montoya was not interested in revisiting former hunting grounds and was intent in staying in NASCAR. Certainly no one expected him to be in successful negotiations with Penske Racing's IndyCar squad, given the long-standing rivalry between the Penske and Ganassi camps and Montoya's equally long-standing ties with the Ganassi organisation in IndyCar, NASCAR and GRAND-AM in which he was also part of a winning team in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.