Simon Pagenaud must be the proudest – and hardest working – driver in the Sebring paddock this year. The Frenchman just returned from a whirlwind journey that saw the 29-year-old testing his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda Indy car last week at the Homestead track in Florida near Miami before he hopped on a plane to participate in his home rally, the Rallye National de la Vienne.
The quick flight home was worth it as Pagenaud won the event overall in a S2000-spec Peugeot 207, then flew back to Florida to drive for Extreme Speed Motorsports in the HPD ARX-03b P2 car for the 12-hour endurance race.
Known as one of the most versatile professional drivers on any continent, Pagenaud will take part in today's practice having driven an Indy car, rally car and sports prototype in a span of nine days, and credits the diverse array of driving experiences for raising his game.
"That's one of the main reasons I love to do stuff like this," Pagenaud told RACER after the rally. "And I appreciate Sam [Schmidt] and Ric [Peterson] allow me to do all this extra stuff and sharpen my skills. I think they also understand it makes me happy, and when I'm happy I drive better and it also makes me a better driver because I'm learning so much from doing completely different things.
"As long as you're smart enough to understand what you're doing, you're always going to extract something out of it. So that's what I'm doing and I feel like everything I'm doing on the side is helping me in IndyCar so it can only be a win-win situation."
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