Pagenaud Realizes His Dream – Racing For Team Penske

Simon Pagenaud driving a Corvette C7.R in Rolex24. [Joe Jennings Photo]
Verizon IndyCar Series driver Simon Pagenaud is a proven winner against the toughest drivers open-wheel competition has to offer. In 2014, the Frenchman won twice and was a threat throughout the season. His accomplishments made many take notice, including legendary car owner Roger Penske, who had his eye on the skilled driver for some time. One thing led to another and starting with the new season, Pagenaud will be wearing Team Penske colors.

Simon Pagenaud at Long Beach in 2014.  [Joe Jennings Photo]

Simon Pagenaud at Long Beach in 2014. [Joe Jennings Photo]

“It is super exciting to realize my childhood dream to drive with Team Penske and Roger Penske. I am very excited to be in this position,” Pagenaud said with enthusiasm. “Team Penske is a big name in America; it is like Ferrari in Europe. For me, I am proud to wear the logo and to be part of the team.”

Pagenaud, 30, joins a stellar Team Penske cast that includes reigning series champion Will Power and Indianapolis 500 champions Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya. In 2014, the quartet won 7 races, making them favorites to win wherever they race be it road and street courses or high-speed ovals.

According to Pagenaud, he has been talking with Team Penske for many years. “We started talking back in 2008, so we have had this desire to work together for a long time,” he commented. “In racing, it is all about timing and this time the timing was perfect. When I got the final call from Roger, it was a very exciting moment for me. It is special when your hero calls you, saying he wants you to drive for him. It is like finally being with the girl-friend you have always wanted to be with.”

One of the key factors in joining Team Penske was for Pagenaud to have engineer Ben Bretzman accompany him. Bretzman has overseen Pagenaud’s cars for some 10 years, and as the results show, the two perform well together. “His presence will make the transition very easy,” Pagenaud noted.

Team Penske wants fans to identify with its cars regardless of the series, so Pagenaud’s Chevrolet-powered entry will carry No. 22, the same number used by Joey Logano in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series. No sponsor identity is known at this time.

Simon Pagenaud negotiating the hairpin at Long Beach a year ago.  [Joe Jennings Photo]

Simon Pagenaud negotiating the hairpin at Long Beach a year ago. [Joe Jennings Photo]

Pagenaud has spent time with his new teammates over the winter months, and they have gotten along well. “We have been together a lot doing sponsor events and did a go-kart charity race with Montoya in Columbia, so I have had time to get to know them,” the articulate driver commented. “Now, we have to work together on the race track. The important thing for us is to win as Team Penske and the best one will win on the track.”

Added Pagenaud, “I plan to do my best and my goal is to perform at 100 per cent. And I know the team will be doing exactly the same behind me; it is just about executing. As long as we are at 100 per cent, we should be in good shape.”

For his dream season to be successful, Pagenaud wants to be in top three fighting for the championship. “My job is to be doing the job I have always been doing and perform at 100 per cent and do the best I can.”

Since Pagenaud has the determination component and Team Penske has its precision performance to rely upon, the Frenchman should continue being a winner in 2015.

Before firing up his Team Penske entry, Pagenaud has another assignment to address, co-driving a Chevrolet Corvette C7.R in the upcoming Rolex24 at Daytona. He will be sharing the driving duties in the Corvette C7.R with Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner, as the trio seeks another victory for the iconic American manufacturer.

“I am very excited to get this assignment with Corvette and the C7.R is an icon of American racing. It is very special for me to have such an opportunity,” he said without losing track of the Verizon IndyCar Series dream assignment.

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