New IndyCar Roles for Helio Castroneves Don’t Include Much Racing

Jackson Wheeler
6 Min Read

The 2024 racing season is already proving to be one of great adjustment for IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves.

The Brazilian native is in a far different role this year than he’s ever been in during his illustrious racing career:

• First, he’s now a minority team owner in Meyer Shank Racing. He gets to call some shots, approve bills and do much of the minutiae that team owners deal with on a daily basis—and even headaches that he didn’t have to deal with during his full-time racing days.

• Second, he will not return to this month’s IMSA Rolex 24 to defend his last three prior championships in 2021, 2022 and 2023—due primarily to MSR not competing in IMSA/sports car racing in 2024 (it’s officially on hiatus for this season, in part to build up its IndyCar program, but has plans to potentially return in 2025).

auto aug 11 ntt indycar series gallagher grand prix

Icon Sportswire//Getty Images

Helio Castroneves plans to try for a record fifth Indy 500 victory in May.

• Third, and perhaps the most significant change, after 26 seasons (dating back to 1998) and 391 starts (including 31 career wins, 94 podiums and 47 poles), Castroneves will no longer be a full-time driver on the IndyCar circuit. Rather, the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner and former Dancing With The Stars winner has just one race circled on his dance card for 2024, but it’s the biggest one of all—he’s hoping to earn a record fifth Indy 500 crown.

Castroneves, who turns 49 in early May, is just getting used to the new normal in his life. But even in his new role, he’ll still bring his firesuit and helmet with him to every IndyCar race this season—just in case anything happens to MSR’s two new additions to its IndyCar operation, Tom Blomqvist and Felix Rosenqvist, who replaced Castroneves and longtime teammate and close friend Simon Pagenaud (who remains without an IndyCar ride for 2024).

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James Gilbert//Getty Images

Four-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves drove the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing w/Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-06 to the win at last year’s Rolex 24.

With the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Series Rolex 24 coming up in just a little more than two weeks (Jan. 27-28) at Daytona International Speedway’s road course, Castroneves was somewhat somber that he isn’t racing in the biggest event on the sports car calendar.

He did not allude to whether other teams reached out to him, but did say he had full permission and support from primary team owner Michael Shank to explore other rides for the Rolex. They just never materialized.

“(I’m) disappointed, to be honest,” Castroneves said Wednesday during the first of two annual preseason IndyCar Media Days. “I definitely would have liked to defend the race win and tried to go four in a row. … Oh, yeah, yeah (that he had Shank’s blessing to find another ride in the Rolex). In fact, Tom (Blomqvist) is racing with another team and another manufacturer. So that wasn’t the issue at all. I would be able to race for sure, yes.”

But while he won’t be behind the wheel in Florida at the Rolex 24, Castroneves won’t be idle. He’s busier than he ever was as a driver with his new ownership duties.

“I’m glad that I have a lot on my plate, as well, at the same time with MSR, even though MSR is not in the sports car program,” he said. “We’re working hard to come back in the near future. But yeah, I wish everyone a great race and good luck for sure.”

Autoweek asked Castroneves whether he might compete in additional races in addition to the Indy 500. At this juncture, he doesn’t plan on adding more races, but he also said he has to go into every race weekend ready to go if he needs to step in in a pinch, much like the way the team had to fill in for Pagenaud after his serious crash at Mid-Ohio in July.

“I am allowed to race in the IndyCar Series; however, that’s not the program,” he said. “We don’t want anything to happen to our drivers at the moment. But I’ll be ready in case they need it. But as of right now, it’s not the plan for us to race the full season or anything like that.”

Follow Autoweek contributor Jerry Bonkowski on X/Twitter @JerryBonkowski

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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