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Ex-F1 ace Montoya returns to McLaren for ’21 Indy 500 bid

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Ex-Formula 1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya will return to McLaren in 2021 to race a third Arrow McLaren SP car in the Indianapolis 500.

The Colombian legend, who won the race for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2000 and for Team Penske in 2015, will join the team's full-timers Patricio O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist at IndyCar's flagship event.

Montoya departed full-time open-wheel racing at the end of the 2016 IndyCar season, but returned to Penske for the Indy 500 in 2017, which is his most recent IndyCar race.

Montoya first joined McLaren in 2005 in F1 and took three grand prix victories, though quit the team and F1 midway through the 2006 campaign.

"I'm very excited to be joining Arrow McLaren SP for the Indianapolis 500," said Montoya.

"I have some great history with McLaren from my F1 days and I'm looking forward to making some more at next year's Indianapolis 500."

Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt is "thrilled" to have Montoya onboard and believes his experience will "elevate" the team next year.

"Arrow McLaren SP is thrilled to have a driver of Juan's caliber join the team for next year's Indianapolis 500," Schmidt said.

"His experience will elevate the entire team, including our young, talented lineup of Pato and Felix.

"When you think that he's only started the Indy 500 five times but won it twice, that's impressive."

Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing, added: "I'm delighted for Juan to rejoin the McLaren family and return to the Indianapolis 500 with Arrow McLaren SP.

"He is an intensely competitive, highly versatile driver, with deep experience at the top level of motorsport and a big following.

"Having him with us at the 500 next year will be great for the team and IndyCar fans everywhere."

Since departing IndyCar, Montoya has added the 2019 IMSA SportsCar championship title to his CV and next year competes full-time for DragonSpeed in the World Endurance Championship.

Montoya isn't the only past Indy 500 winner returning to the event in 2021, with 2013 winner Tony Kanaan joining Ganassi for the race as part of a full oval programme for the team spanning multiple years beginning next season.

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