Daytona 24h win ‘doesn’t hurt’ my Le Mans target

Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Newgarden triumphed alongside Dane Cameron, Matt Campbell and Felipe Nasr in America’s biggest sportscar race last weekend in only his second start in PPM’s 963 LMDh prototype.

He will now go back to his day job, to focus on trying to win a third IndyCar Series title for Roger Penske’s team, but has made it clear that he’d love to race at Le Mans in future.

“Yeah, I don’t think [victory at Daytona] hurts,” said Newgarden of his Le Mans hopes. “I don’t know that I’ve earned a spot yet, but absolutely I would love that.

“I’m a race car driver. I would like to compete everywhere just like the guys next to me. They’re eager to sign up and be a part of a program.

“This is probably one of the coolest programs in the world that you can be a part of. But yeah, one day Le Mans would be amazing to take a trek over and try and win.”

#7 Team Penske Motorsport Porsche 963: Dane Cameron, Felipe Nasr, Matt Campbell, Josef Newgarden

#7 Team Penske Motorsport Porsche 963: Dane Cameron, Felipe Nasr, Matt Campbell, Josef Newgarden

Photo by: Bob Meyer

Newgarden was humble over the role he played in the team, alongside full-season drivers Cameron and Nasr, plus Campbell – who moves from this car to a full-time WEC drive this year.

“I’ve got to be honest, it’s a little awkward for me because I feel like I’m just hanging out with this really great group of people that ended up winning a race,” he quipped. “And I just happened to be there in a lot of ways.

“This victory belongs to a great collection of people within motorsports, Porsche, Penske Motorsports is a big body of people, both in the United States and in Germany. It’s an iconic brand with Porsche and an iconic team with Team Penske, a deep legacy between the two, and they’re very deserving of this victory.

“For me, I feel honored to just have been here. I didn’t wreck the car. Like that’s how I feel. I’m so proud of these guys. It’s a very awkward feeling being a race car driver in this situation. I’m not used to it.

“I’ve driven open wheel cars for the last 12 years, and you’re very singular focused in a lot of ways in that sport, and over here I feel like I’ve got family that I’m just really proud of. I felt like that at the end of the race. I could cry thinking about it.

“It’s pretty cool.”

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