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Helio Castroneves having fun in new IndyCar role, wants more races

Castroneves IndyCar

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - JANUARY 31: Helio Castrneves imitates Superman in victory lane after winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona, IMSA WeatherTech Series race, Daytona International Speedway on January 31, 2021 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brian Cleary/Getty Images)

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Helio Castroneves won the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, has a full season of racing in the Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) series ahead of him and six IndyCar races scheduled. He is having fun, but he wants more.

“It would be awesome to be part of more races, which accelerate the adaptation to the car,” Castroneves said during a preseason, IndyCar Zoom press conference. “Yes, I would love to be a full season. That would be a no-brainer. To be not only ready, but to be competitive.

“I always feel that we could do a little bit more, but I understand the process with Meyer Shank Racing. We’ll just keep it going. We’ll find ways. ... Also IMSA. I had a great three years. It would be a waste of three years to just throw out all the experience that I learned there over the three years. As of right now, yes, if I can do more IndyCar racing, it would be great.”

When Castroneves signed on with Tony Stewart’s SRX series in August, the rest of his schedule was unknown.

In November, it was announced he would run six races for Meyer Shank Racing including the season-opener at Barber Motorsports Park and the Indy 500.

The focus remains on IndyCar, but Castroneves is open to new opportunities.

“On the IMSA schedule, I just did Wayne Taylor, 24-Hour Daytona,” Castroneves said. “As of right now, I don’t have anything in IMSA. I only focus now with IndyCar. Actually I’m doing SRX, if you guys know, this year for Tony Stewart. Other than that, I am not doing - well, I haven’t had any invitation with IMSA whether through Meyer Shank Racing or any other team.”

But for now, Castroneves is having fun and relishing his role. His former ride at Team Penske, which whom he raced for more than 20 years, became habit. Racing with Meyer Shank means not only learning how a new team approaches things, but where the driver fits in their program.

Castroneves also has a new car with Dallara-Honda and the new characteristics of it enhances the fun-factor.

“First of all, like I say, we had our first test in Laguna,” Castroneves said. “It was actually fun. Main thing was to get myself adept again to the IndyCar.

“It was funny. Coming out of the corkscrew with the Acura, I was ‘just step on it, the traction control would do all the rest of the work.’ First few laps (in the new car), as soon as I went for my fast lap out there, I kind of had brain fade a little bit, went to the Acura mode and went full throttle. The car was like sideways. I was like, ‘Easy boy, easy’. It was a very interesting scenario.

“I’m glad and I like to be part of this. With Team Penske I knew it would be okay, so I wasn’t worry about it. Now I’m part of it this development. That’s really cool. I really enjoy this.”