Former IndyCar champion Simon Pagenaud said that he has always looked up to the seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson.
Johnson is set to participate in the Rolex 24 Hours Of Daytona in January with the Action Express Racing team. Joining him will be Simon Pagenaud, Mike Rockenfeller, and Kamui Kobayashi.
Pagenaud spoke about the seven-time champion, reserving high praise for him. He said:
“I’ve always looked up to Jimmie. When I came to the U.S., he became the legend that he is and for me, I didn’t know much about oval racing – and Jimmie and I actually talked about this.
“He throughout the years made some special moves on ovals and inspired myself from his performance. He is the king,”
The 2016 IndyCar champion is of the opinion that he shares similar personalities with Johnson.
“You look at what the king does and you try to emulate that yourself. It’s been very, very enjoyable to get to know him as a human being as well,
“We have very similar personalities and I think it’s going to be great chemistry on the team. And Rocky (Rockenfeller), we have friends in common so we spend time together often.
“I really think we will have a fantastic time. We have a similar desire and I think (we are) at very similar times in our career on the team. Everybody seems to be very much on the same page.
Johnson will now try Pagenaud’s discipline in IndyCar starting from 2021. He has a two year deal with Chip Ganassi Racing to race select IndyCar races.