Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves will make his return to the NTT IndyCar Series grid in 2021, piloting a second car part-time for the ever expanding Meyer Shank Racing team.
Since making their debut in the series at the 2017 Indianapolis 500, MSR slowly eased themselves into the series, finally completing their first full schedule in the sport this past season with Jack Harvey behind the wheel of the No. 60 Honda. In 2018, MSR ran a six race program, followed by a ten race program for 2019, before going full time.
Team Owner Mike Shank has expressed an interest in adding a second car to his IndyCar program, and plans to take the same approach to this second car that he did with the first.
“We’re really excited to have Helio come onboard with us next year,” Shank said.
“The idea to start off with six races for the second IndyCar was another strategic plan. As I’ve always said in the past, we will never bite off more than we can chew.”
“It’s always been one of our goals to expand the IndyCar program, and this is the best way that we can start that. Of course the goal is to have two full-season cars.”
The 45-year-old Castroneves is slated to run at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park, Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500, the second event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in August, The Grand Prix of Portland and the season-ending race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Since stepping down from running IndyCar full-time in 2018, Castroneves has spent the past two years driving for Team Penske in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. With Penske pulling out of IMSA after this season, Castroneves became available to drive for MSR in 2021.
In his travels in Sports Car racing, Castroneves and MSR crossed paths once before, and the Brazilian veteran can’t wait to work with Shank once again.
“I’m super excited to be joining Meyer Shank Racing for six IndyCar races next year,” said Castroneves.
“Mike [Shank] and I know each other from a long time ago and I raced with the team at Daytona. Now, with Jim [Meyer], Mike and Jack [Harvey], all three of us I feel like we have great potential.”
The race in question is the 2007 Rolex 24 at Daytona, where the team finished ninth in the Daytona Prototype class.
Castroneves brings a wealth of experience to MSR, with 351 IndyCar starts, resulting in 30 wins and 51 pole positions in his over two decade long career in the series. Most recently, Castroneves filled in for Oliver Askew at Arrow McLaren SP in 2020 for the IndyCar Harvest GP, while Askew was declared unfit to race.
The IndyCar season begins on 07 March with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, and Castroneves will make his MSR debut on 11 April at Barber Motorsports Park.