McLaren Racing has announced a full-time IndyCar programme from 2020 season onward after tying up with an existing team.
After the troubles with an individual entry in the 2019 Indy500 event, McLaren started to look at possibilities to work with an existing IndyCar team in a larger capacity, so as to be ready for 2020 season.
Speculations of an association with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports arose in the recent months, which has been confirmed by the team on Friday, alongside a partnership with Chevrolet.
The team will be renamed as Arrow McLaren Racing SP from 2020 onward when McLaren starts its full-time journey in IndyCar for the first time since 1979 with two Chevrolet-powered cars under Gil de Ferran.
The IndyCar team will run independent to its F1 counterparts as McLaren will provide ‘technical expertise, commercial experience and marketing strength’ to Arrow SPM, which will enable them to fight for wins and titles.
As of now, the team has James Hinchcliffe and Marcus Ericsson as its drivers, while a seat for injured Robert Wickens is also in place – provided the Canadian is able to return with full strength.
It remains to be seen if Hinchcliffe and Ericsson will remain on with the team or if McLaren will bring in other drivers in the play. Certainly, Fernando Alonso will be a key driver as well.
But as the Spaniard as suggested in recent times, it is more likely that he will only do Indy500 and if at all, he could maybe do few more selected events or tests to get accustomed to with the car.
McLaren’s Zak Brown said: “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.
“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.” The McLaren IndyCar head, de Ferran added:
“IndyCar is a natural fit for McLaren, given our legacy and determination to succeed at the top levels of international motorsport. Our ambition, over time, is to consistently compete for wins and championships. We acknowledge the challenge ahead of us but McLaren is committed to this partnership and to supporting the team as a whole.”
At the same time, Sam Schmidt, co-owner of Arrow SPM team, said: “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.
“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.”
Co-owner Ric Peterson, added: “I’m really excited that we could pull together our long-term partner Arrow and forge a new partnership with McLaren to become a unified force.
“I’m equally thrilled that Sam and I are able to continue on in our long-standing relationship together and maintain our ownership position in the company. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
Sponsor Arrow Electronics, President and CEO, Mike Long, said: “Advancement in automotive technology continues to be a powerful growth driver for our business. We are delighted to see our partners join forces in a way that provides an even broader platform and showcase for Arrow’s engineering and innovation.”
And finally, Chevrolet’s Jim Campbell added: “Chevrolet and McLaren have a storied history of racing together, going back to the mid-1960s. We have always had tremendous respect for Zak Brown and Gil de Ferran, as well as for Sam Schmidt, Ric Peterson and Mike Long.
“We are looking forward to partnering with the entire Arrow McLaren Racing SP team as we prepare for the 2020 IndyCar season.” The details of the drivers and other people will be shared at a later stage.