Colombian driver Juan Pablo Montoya entered into South Florida Hall of Champions for lifetime contribution to motorsport.
The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Sports Hall of Champions on Wednesday afternoon with its annual awards banquet at American Airlines Arena. Montoya was one of four inductees, alongside Cuban-American ice skater Jennifer Rodriguez, television announcer Eric Reid and sports commentator Tony ‘The Coach’ Fiorentino.
Juan Pablo Montoya, now a resident of Miami, was selected by the committee for his immense contribution to local and international sport. He joins fellow racing greats, such as Emerson Fittipaldi and Helio Castroneves, as well as sporting legends such as Muhammad Ali and Joe DiMaggio.
“It’s an incredible honor,” Montoya said. “You never do this to be in any award show. The list of people that have been honored here is huge.”
Montoya is a worthy recipient of the award having won the International F3000 championship in 1998 and the CART Championship Series in 1999. He is the only driver to have won the premier North American open-wheel CART title, the Indianapolis 500 and the gruelling 24 Hours of Daytona, all at the first attempt. He also won seven Formula One titles, including the legendary Monaco Grand Prix in 2003. He currently competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and he made history in 2009 by becoming the first foreigner to compete in “the chase” which includes the twelve fastest drivers from the years championship.
The 36-year-old Colombian driver was pleasantly surprised to win the lifetime achievement award while still competing, but he is determined to continue to be a force in the sport for years to come.
“I know I have had a very good career and I have been very lucky, but I hope I still have many victories to come” the driver insists, “The oldest driver in NASCAR today is 50 years and so I still have many years in racing”.