Raúl Prados, one among 300,000

Cevery year, 300.000 personas are spread across the 13,626 kilometers of the La Sarthe circuit, the track that hosts the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the most important race in world motorsports… Some come from competing, two weeks before… the most important race in world motorsports. And no, it is not a mistake. Because the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans are, in equal measure. Anyone who has experienced both – like the undersigned – can assure this without the slightest hint of a doubt.

Well, among those 300,000 souls, only two can dream of achieving victory in both. One is the American Jonathan Diuguidgeneral director of Team Penskethe American team that puts the official Porsche 963 on the track at Le Mans and that guided Josef Newgarden through strategy in the Indianapolis 500, where they are the dominant team in the championship. The other, which is closer to us, is a Spaniard, Raúl Pradoscareer engineer Porsche #4 of the North Carolina team and, two weeks earlier, also the head of the now two-time Indianapolis champion car.

Team Penske

Destiny opened the door

However, no one should have been in this position so privileged (it is even more so because before, in January, also They won the 24 Hours of Daytona with Porsche). But destiny wanted it that way. Neither the Spaniard nor the American had responsibilities with the IndyCar cars, but the team called them up after a controversial episode in the single-seater team.

The IndyCar Penskes received a very harsh penalty after using push-to-pass illegally in the first race of the season. The pilots lost the points… and the technical managers were relieved provisionally by internal decision of the team (it happens that its owner, the legendary Roger Penske, is also the owner of IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway). And so, from one day to the next, Prados was faced with the responsibility of managing nothing less than the winning car from the previous year in the emblematic Indy 500, the most important race in the United States.

In two days I had to go from preparing Le Mans to managing the car that defended the title in Indianapolis

Raúl Prados, Porsche-Penske race engineer

“They told me on a Monday and on Wednesday I started working on Newgarden’s car, In just one day I had to be prepared to drive that car.“, he tells MARCA, explaining the dimension of that task: “We arrived at a team that had been stripped of its spinehe strategist [seguramente la pieza más importante del equipo tras el piloto] and the career engineer [cuya labor es gestionar el rendimiento del coche y su configuración]…but we managed to win because the work had been well done throughout the year“. It sounds easy, but it is not at all. And, as an example, a button: “Although an engineer is at rest, mi smartwatch He measured 150 heartbeats in the four qualifying laps and on the last lap of the race. In the rest, there were about 80.”


Penske and the desire for Le Mans

Since yesterday he has been embarking on another giant challenge: win the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the #4 Porsche (piloted by Felipe Nasr, Mathieu Jaminet and Nick Tandy) for his boss, the legendary Captain, Roger Penske. A race with a special meaning for “the Enzo Ferrari of America”as he is known in the US (which gives us an idea of ​​the size of the character, one of the great world figures of motorsport).

Penske has won in Formula 1, in Indianapolis, in prototypes… but never in Le Mans. We have to give it to them

Raúl Prados, Porsche-Penske race engineer

As if it were not enough pressure to have taken the baton of the Indy 500 ‘on the fly’, now it is up to Prados and his colleagues to face the team’s great objective for this year 2024: “Roger has won races in Formula 1, in Indianapolis, especially in prototypes, where he has won 40 or 50% of the races he has competed in… He has won in everything, except Le Mans“.

“For him this race It means everything… and we have to give it to them“Perhaps that is why it is better understood that, at 86 years old, he has accompanied the team in all stages of this two-year adventure with Porsche that perhaps, and with the help of a Spaniard, can also culminate successfully in this 2024.

Penske Entertainment

The recognition of Josef Newgarden

MARCA contacted the Indy 500 winner Josef Newgardento know the importance of Prados’ role in that triumph unexpected. “Raúl is a top racing engineer and it was amazing to have it in my car during the month of May. We have worked together before; in fact, Last January we won the Rolex 24 together [24 Horas de Daytona]”, he explained to this newspaper.

Prados and Duiguid deserve recognition for the victory in the Indy 500… and they will surely have more successes in the future

Josef Newgarden, winner of the Indianapolis 500

“Team Penske is capable of bringing in someone like Raul, with a lot of experience in big races, to fill a position when we really needed it. He and Jonathan Diuguid deserve the recognition for our victory in the Indianapolis 500 and I know they will achieve more victories in their future.


Davide Piano

An experienced journalist with an insatiable curiosity for global affairs on newshubpro

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