What will Hélio Castroneves do next?

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What's left for Hélio Castroneves to conquer: The Brazilian added another Daytona 24 win but where else could he go and star?

Helio Castroneves, 2022 24 Hours of Daytona

Castroneves won a second Daytona 24 race but is there more on offer for him?

James Gilbert/Getty Images

Hélio Castroneves started off his 2022 season in familiar fashion, adding another victory at the 24 Hours at Daytona to an already accomplished CV.

It isn’t just the fact that it was his second consecutive win at the event or that it was split by a record-equalling fourth Indianapolis 500 victory either; the Brazilian continues to prove that age is far from a limiting factor, at least in his case.

His endurance racing achievements in the past few years have been stellar to say the least, his knack for being in the right place at the right time at Indy have not diminished either and the 46 year-old is still climbing fences like a school kid.

Castroneves is still clearly capable of challenging at the top levels of motor sport and he has the enthusiasm to match, but what’s next for him? He’s already pencilled in for a full season of IndyCar with Meyer Shank Racing, so fitting in more extra-curriculars might be tricky, but what could he achieve elsewhere?


Le Mans

It’s the most obvious choice for Castroneves to take on but Le Mans is the major win missing and one he stands a decent chance of accomplishing.

After his Daytona win at the weekend, Castroneves underlined his desire to go, telling team owner Mike Shank “Mike, let’s go to Le Mans. Let’s go!” in the post-race conference.

“I’d love to. I’ve never been there. I would love to try obviously. Gotta go to those big events.

“I don’t think age is a problem. I think I’m not running out of time. I’m just getting more experience and experiencing in this type of race is the key to be successful.”

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With Meyer Shank running one of the two cars entered by Acura, it means there could be future options on the table regarding an attempt at the win.

The extensive manufacturer interest and entries in the next few seasons should also further open up the chances of Castroneves finding himself a race seat in the future.

With so much experience to offer, his input into development of the new generation of car could be vital for teams looking to steal an edge over rivals. His commitment to a full IMSA season could also put him into contention for a second championship.

For someone who has enjoyed so much success as of late in endurance racing, there may well be no better time for Castroneves to go to Le Mans than now.

The only sticking point may be the scheduling. With a full season of IndyCar racing on the agenda it won’t be this year. But a future season with a Le Mans effort in mind could open the door for Castroneves to finally take a shot at the big prize he has so far gone without.


Daytona 500

Having conquered Indianapolis four times over, there is another great American race that Castroneves could take on.

He’s familiar enough with Daytona so with two new corners and a few less on the infield to deal with, could a NASCAR run out result in a win?

Another 500-mile challenge is a sizeable one to take on. Though there might be little to no crossover between single-seater and stock car racing on paper, he has plenty of time on ovals through his IndyCar days and his overall racing experience would be useful for such a sizeable challenge.

Daytona is a lottery more often than not with the pack racing combined with the stage format the series employs means that the winner is usually only determined in the final miles.

Denny Hamlin’s three victories in the past six editions of the race indicates he may have cracked the code to getting the job done and it would be straight into the deep end for Castroneves.


Formula 1

No F1 team is about to offer a 46-year-old a deal to drive its car for the season but that’s not to say that Castroneves would be a slouch.

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His speed against the best in the US is clear from results and he’s taken on plenty of ex-F1 talent and got the better of them during his endurance and Indy exploits.

Whether his speed would directly correlate is another question, but as Fernando Alonso has proven, being on the other side of 40 doesn’t mean you can’t deal with F1 demands.

The Brazilian would have to get up to speed fast but there’s no reason why he couldn’t be semi-competitive in a test for one of the teams.


Race of Champions

This is already on the agenda but Castroneves will be going head-to-head with multiple-time world champions from across motor sport in Race of Champions.

Alongside reigning ROC victor Benito Guerra, he will be representing Team Latin America in the snow of Sweden.

While the Race of Champions is all but an exhibition event, the drivers will bring a competitiveness and put one another to the test.

As well as attempting to claim the ROC Nations Cup, Castroneves will be competing against the likes of Sebastian Vettel, Sébastien Loeb, Mika Hakkinen and Jimmie Johnson for individual honours.


Nürburgring 24 Hours

Castroneves’s European excursions don’t have to stop with Le Mans. A visit to the Nordschleife would represent something of a ticking off of the bucket list for him.

“Spending 20 years in one series [IndyCar], you don’t think outside the box. To be honest, I should, because I want to do all these races: Daytona, Le Mans, Spa, Nürburgring. How awesome would that be?” he told Autosport in 2018.

There’s plenty of scope for the Brazilian to add another endurance racing crown jewel to his collection. The Penske-Porsche line-up in LMDh could potentially open up some doors for a potential drive in the event.

Again there would have to be some conscessions made if he was to compete in a full IndyCar season and drive in the endurance race but once more, time and speed are still on Castroneves’ side.