MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Winning a title in IndyCar hasn’t stopped Simon Pagenaud from wanting to return to Circuit de la Sarthe to finally get his first win in the worlds greatest endurance race.
Speaking to the media yesterday at Martinsville Speedway, the driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Chevrolet in the Verizon IndyCar Series and 2016 IndyCar champion was asked if he had any desire to return to and compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans again one day.
“Yes, definitely,” Pagenaud said. “It definitely haunts me every morning when I wake up. I finished second. Evidently, it was the closest margin in history. So I got unfinished business there for sure.”
The French native was driving the No. 9 Team Peugeot Total 908 on the final stint when it finished second overall to the No. 2 Audi Sport R18 (driven by Andre Lotterer) in the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans. He finished a mere 14 seconds, 13.854 to be exact, behind Lotterer in what was the fourth closest finish in the history of Le Mans.
It was Audi’s eighth win in 12 years in the twice around the clock race through the French countryside. They would go on to win the next three years in their reign of dominance of the event. This was a point that Pagenaud brought up in his availability.
“The difficulty is you’ve got to be in a proper factory program like I was with Peugeot or Audi, for example, or Porsche to have a chance to win,” he said. “It’s such a difficult race with so many different factors in play. You need to be really well prepared and to do that, you need to be in a factory team.”
He also added that his attention at this time is on IndyCar and Team Penske.
“So right now with my priority being on IndyCar with Team Penske, it’s out of the question for now,” he added. “But hopefully someday, there will be an opportunity and I’ll definitely come back.”