Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud is already thinking that he has a good chance of winning this year’s NTT IndyCar title after only one round in the books.
This season has been anything but normal for the entire field, but through it all the 2016 series champion has shown that his focus and determination rivals any others in the sport and he is confident that he can continue to capitalize on that momentum.
“We started the season really well in Texas,” said Pagenaud. “I feel this year we can’t be any more ready, quite frankly, despite the situation.
“I’m 100 percent full throttle right now in my head. I’m really in a good space mentally to go to this racetrack and score as many points as possible. I’m definitely thinking championship right now.”
Pagenaud raced alongside many of his fellow drivers in the IndyCar sanctioned iRacing series during the delay in on-track action. In those six races, the cool Frenchman took the checkered flag twice and was consistently at the sharp end of the field.
The simulator is not the ideal way to stay in the groove, but Pagenaud often raced in his full racing suit in order to keep himself in the best possible mindset given the situation.
Pagenaud also carries his fair share of momentum from recent real world races. In addition to finishing second in the opening round from Texas Motor Speedway, he has won three out of the six Indianapolis road course races that have been run, and followed up last year’s win with a victory at the Indy 500 as well.
“I think as a driver, when you go to a track where you’ve won before, a track where you’ve had good success, you just have a level of confidence,” said Pagenaud about this weekend’s race.
“I’m going into the Grand Prix with very high expectation of myself and my car and my team. I’m going there to win the race.
“I’m not going to be third. I’m not going in thinking I could be fifth or sixth or seventh. The goal is to win.
“Quite frankly, that’s the only thought I have.”