McLaren announces IndyCar partnership with Arrow SPM

  • Published on 09 Aug 2019 14:13
  • 5
  • By: Fergal Walsh

McLaren has announced it will return to the IndyCar series next season in partnership with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

Under the new partnership, the team will be renamed to Arrow McLaren Racing SP, and will be lead by McLaren Racing’s Sporting Director Gil de Ferran.

McLaren entered the Indianapolis 500 race earlier this season with Fernando Alonso, but failed to qualify for the event.

The British outfit last competed full-time as a works team in the US series in 1979. next year, the team will run two Chevrolet powered entries. 

A team statement read: "The partnership will see the infrastructure of Arrow SPM underpin the team’s operations, while McLaren adds technical expertise, commercial experience and marketing strength to enable the new entity to perform at the highest competitive level and regularly challenge for wins and the series title.

"Arrow SPM co-founders Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson continue in their current roles. Gil de Ferran, sporting director, McLaren Racing, will lead the McLaren IndyCar programme and involvement in Arrow McLaren Racing SP. He will helm a dedicated group from McLaren Racing, independent of the Formula 1 team.”

McLaren CEO Zak Brown added: “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.”

It is not yet known who will form the team's line-up, however James Hinchcliffe, who has competed with SPM for the last five years, is likely to lose his seat as he is backed by Honda.

Its other current driver, Marcus Ericsson, is also likely to lose out as McLaren adds investment. 

De Ferran, who joined McLaren Racing last year as its F1 sporting director, said: “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.”

Replies (5)

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  • wow that's huge

    • + 2
    • Aug 9 2019 - 14:42
    • siggy74

      Posts: 194

      It was either going 2 ways ;p
      1. Failed with Alonso,and the half hearted attempt = pull out and leave with tail between legs
      2. go all in, go for the brand awareness to help push up Mclaren road car sales ;p

      Be good to see how this all goes, part of this is getting ready for the cost cap in F1. moving staff about to cover the bases

      • + 4
      • Aug 9 2019 - 16:35
  • It's a good move if they want to be in the sport. They saw how their half-assed commitment to the sport didn't pay off when they only wanted to get a win for Alonso. If they are going to be in the sport they should commit to it, so this is good to see. Not too surprised they didn't go with the Honda engine though.

    • + 2
    • Aug 9 2019 - 17:23
  • Makes sense. The partnership enabled McLaren to widen its horizon beyond F1, while also relieving them from the burden of going at it alone, in terms of effort, staff and funding. If they are to be in Indy, this was the way to do it, methinks.

    • + 2
    • Aug 9 2019 - 20:40
  • Kean

    Posts: 692

    Likely that both Hinchcliffe and Ericsson is out of a drive. SPM has initially said that they will honor Hinch's contract for 2020, but it seems his ties with Honda are quite strong. As for Ericsson, I wouldn't be surprised if they dump him (shame). Seems they're looking for experience and an exciting rookie. The "rookie" may well be Colton Herta or Filipe Nasr, but who will they get with experience? Simon Pagenaud or Will Power? Only if they're dropped by Penske, I think. Ryan Hunter-Reay maybe? Alonso will likely join for the Indy 500. Possible destinations for Ericsson and Hinchcliffe include Dale Coyne, Harding or Rahal Letterman. Though I think Andretti should dump Veach and sign Hinch instead.

    • + 2
    • Aug 9 2019 - 21:43

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