The Colombian driver will run in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and to achieve victory will make history in the main sport of engines.
Juan Pablo Montoya, a 42-year-old Colombian driver, could make history on June 16 and 17 in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. If the Latin American driver wins, he would be the second person in the history of motor sport to achieve the Triple Crown of Motorsports, and the first born on this side of the world. However, what is this honorable recognition about?
Triple Crown of Motorsports
The motorsport world has 3 races of maximum importance and of maximum prestige: the Grand Prix of Monaco, the 500 Miles of Indianapolis, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The relevance and difficulty of these races means that whoever manages to win the victory in each and every one of them is honored with the recognition, unofficial, of the Triple Crown of Motorsports.
Achieving the victory in these three valid is extremely difficult, so it is considered the Formula 1 World Championship as an alternative to the Monaco Grand Prix. However, this alternative also means a sporting feat, so the difficulty of getting the Triple Crown of Motorsports is still huge.
Only one person in the history of this sport has achieved the Triple Crown of Motorsports: the British Graham Hill, who achieved this recognition after winning the Indianapolis 500 in 1966, the Monaco Grand Prix in 6 opportunities between 1963 and 1969, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1972. In addition, to finish round off his exemplary career, Hill won the Formula 1 World Championship in 1962 and 1968.
Montoya, the Latin American who will go for the crown
Several have been the pilots who have touched the Triple Crown of Motorsports, but each and every one of them, with the exception of the historic Graham Hill, failed in the attempt. In total, 12 pilots grazed the honorable recognition to win two of the three relevant races mentioned above, but all failed to get the victory in one of the three valid to achieve glory. Juan Pablo Montoya is the only active driver who opts for the Triple Crown of Motorsports, as the other 11 riders are already retired. Of the 11 retired drivers who were close to reaching the Triple Crown of Motorsports, only one is Latin American: the Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi.
Montoya is the second Latin American to get close to the Triple Crown of Motorsports: the Colombian rider won the Indianapolis 500 in 2000 for the Chip Ganassi Racing team, and in 2015 running for the Team Penske team. Similarly, Montoya won the Monaco Grand Prix in 2003 racing for the Williams-BMW team. The only race that he needs to win to get the Triple Crown of Motorsports is the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which will run on June 16 and 17.
What possibilities does Montoya have of winning?
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the most prestigious endurance race in the world, and is held at the La Sarthe circuit, near Le Mans, France. Montoya will run in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the United Autosports team, this being his debut in this valid, so his chances of winning are not the highest.
However, the Colombian's experience in endurance races means that his chances increase considerably. Montoya won the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2007, 2008 and 2013, and came second in 2009 and 2011, which proves the great expertise of the Latin American in this kind of races. "Juan Pablo has been racing for many years and knows what he needs to win. It will give the team experience and speed, just what it takes to face a race as demanding as Le Mans", said Zak Brown, owner and president of United Autosport, in an interview for the official website of the team.
The directors of the team have full confidence in Montoya, which is favorable for the Colombian driver. "Although it will be his first Le Mans adventure, he has a wealth of racing experience, including victories at the Monaco Grand Prix and the Indy 500, which means that this Le Mans adventure could be an opportunity for La Triple to win. Crown of Motorsports", said Richard Dean, owner and CEO of United Autosport.
The experience, the confidence of his team and the desire of Juan Pablo Montoya are the best allies of the Latin American pilot for the victory in Le Mans and the Triple Crown of Motorsports. "I am very excited for this new experience that is coming at Le Mans. I dreamed of integrating this team after seeing its great participation of the previous year. I have always seen this race and it is an immense joy to be part of it. Surely, we will have an opportunity to win", Montoya told the United Autosport media.
Latin America, from the hand of a Colombian, could make history in world motorsport. Juan Pablo Montoya will deploy all his talent and experience to try to reach the glorious and longed for Triple Crown of Motoring.
LatinAmerican Post | Javier Aldana
Translated from “Triple Corona del Automovilismo: ¿Podrá Juan Pablo Montoya hacer historia?”