Saturday, Aug 10 04:37pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

McLaren returns to IndyCar full-time after 40 years

The McLaren Racing name will return to the NTT IndyCar Series after a 40-year hiatus with established outfit Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsport.


The team will move away from Honda and instead run two Chevrolet powered cars for the 2020 season. Canadian driver James Hinchcliffe is expected to drive for the team with the second driver still to be confirmed. Currently ex-Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericcson of Sweden races for the team.


In what is possibly one of the worst kept secrets and most turbulent confirmations has finally come to fruition. Come next year, the team will be known as Arrow McLaren Racing SP.


The move comes after an unsuccessful tilt for an Indianapolis 500 crown with Fernando Alonso, who failed to qualify for the 103rd running of the event. The team were supported by Carlin, whose drivers Max Chilton and Patricio O’Ward failed to qualify too.


The possibility of an alignment between McLaren and Schmidt Peterson Motorsport soon surfaced when both teams took on Arrow Electronics as a partner earlier this year. That led to speculation of the team joining forces for a full-time campaign.


Fundamentally the Schmidt Peterson Motorsport outfit won’t go through a radical overhaul with McLaren set to provide technical and marketing expertise. Arrow SPM co-founders Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson continue in their current roles.


“I’m extremely proud of the team that Ric and I have built and that a legendary brand like McLaren Racing has decided to partner with us to form Arrow McLaren Racing SP to continue our march to the top of IndyCar,” Schmidt said.


“Arrow is a tremendous partner which has been integral to our growth as a team since 2015 and to the creation of this new partnership.


“The combined technical resources and commercial opportunities both McLaren and Arrow bring to the table provide a winning combination.”


Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director, McLaren Racing, will lead the McLaren IndyCar programme and involvement in Arrow McLaren Racing SP. He will lead a dedicated group from McLaren Racing, independent of the Formula 1 team.


“IndyCar has been part of McLaren since our early years of racing, and the series today provides not only a commercial platform to continue to grow our brand in North America, but competition with some of the best teams in international motorsport,” McLaren CEO Zak Brown said.


“This team provides McLaren with the right synergy as a strategic partner for our return to the sport. We believe together we can help each other achieve our mutual ambitions. Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson have built a solid foundation and we look forward to working together to take the team to the next level.


“I’m absolutely delighted that we will expand our relationship with Arrow Electronics across both F1 and IndyCar, while renewing our long affinity with Chevrolet as our engine partner. McLaren and Chevrolet have a special history together in North America and it is fitting they are part of our full-time return to IndyCar.


“We come to IndyCar in full respect of the sport, our competitors, the fans and the task ahead. At our core, we at McLaren are racers and where there’s competition that puts us to the test, we will race. The NTT IndyCar Series provides such a challenge.”