Last season, Helio Castroneves had a great Verizon IndyCar Series season that saw him finish second in points with a win and six podiums.
““Last season was a very successful one for me,” he told SpeedwayMedia.com. “We won a race, challenged for the championship and just came up a bit short in the Indianapolis 500. I wish we were a little more consistent over the last few races. We had some difficult races at Mid-Ohio and Milwaukee. Those races really hampered our championship hopes. But we had a shot at a championship and that’s really all you can ask for. Having the season that we did just keeps me hungry to win a championship.”
Now heading into 2015, Castroneves is searching for one more spot in the championship standings in hopes of capturing his first championship crown.
“The 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season was a very successful one for Team Penske, but I feel that 2015 will be even better,” Castroneves said. “There aren’t many teams in INDYCAR history that can match our driver lineup. As a team, we should have a legitimate shot to win every race. I feel like our No. 3 Chevy team has the ability to challenge for the championship again this year. We should certainly have the speed, we just need to find a bit more consistency.”
To make that move to the top step of the podium, Castroneves feels that he needs to be more consistent this year as to be a champion, “you just have to minimize the bad days and not let them turn into disasters”. The Brazilian is also hopes to score at least one more win than he got last year, too.
“If we can do all that we will have a great shot at a championship,” he noted.
The statistics from last year back up that they should be strong this year as while Castroneves finished second in points, Will Power won the championship with Juan Pablo Montoya finishing fourth.
“Simon is going to bring a lot to the team this year,” Castroneves commented. “He’s been one of the quickest drivers in the sport over the last few seasons. I know we are all anxious to start testing with him and see what new ideas we can all do to make the team better. Simon and I have enjoyed a good relationship over the years. He drove for Gil de Ferran – who is my former teammate – in sports car racing, so we’ve had that connection for a few years. He’s a smart and talented racer.”
Castroneves added that the addition of Pagenaud will make this a historic year for Penske as they’ve never had four cars before, but feels this is the right time to expand as it will help in trying to figure out the new aero kits and gain an advantage.
“The aero kits will level the playing field and bit for everyone,” he continued. “We are all curious to see what the racing is going to be like with the new kits. The Indianapolis 500 should be very exciting with the speeds we will be running. It’s going to be a fun year.”
Getting into the season, the one race on the schedule that is highlighted by many drivers is Indianapolis as every driver wants to win the Indianapolis 500. Castroneves has had the opportunity to win it three times already, and says it’d mean a lot if he could become a four-time winner.
“Rick Mears has done a lot for me in my career and to join him in the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner’s club would be a very big deal to me,” he commented. “Again, there are a few unknowns this year with the new aero kits but when you race for Team Penske you know that you will have a great shot when we get to Indianapolis.”