Having been present with Fernando Alonso in the two most recent Indy500 races, McLaren Racing has now teamed up with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (Arrow SPM) and Chevrolet to complete a full 2020 IndyCar season.
McLaren last competed full-time in IndyCar in 1979.
Under the partnership, the team will be renamed Arrow McLaren Racing SP and will field two Chevrolet-powered cars in the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series, reflecting the continuing status of Arrow Electronics as the team’s title partner, as well as a new manufacturer partnership with Chevrolet.
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.
“IndyCar has been part of McLaren since our early years of racing, said McLaren Racing CEO, Zak Brown.
"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 team itself will continue to be owned by Ric Peterson and Sam Schmidt while Arrow Electronics will be the new team's main sponsor. At the same time, Arrow SPM splits with Honda, who used to be their engine partner.
Jim Campbell, US Vice President, Performance and Motorsports, Chevrolet, commented:
“Chevrolet and McLaren have a storied history of racing together, going back to the mid-1960s", said Jim Campbell, US Vice President, Performance and Motorsports, Chevrolet.
"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.”
It is currently unclear who will be driving the Arrow McLaren Racing SP cars. Former F1 driver Markus Ericsson's contract expires with Arrow SPM at the end of the season, and it appears unlikely he will be picked up.
Six time race winner James Hinchcliffe is under contract, but he might also be set to leave, given he is currently personally sponsored by Honda Canada and serves as an international spokesperson for Honda.
Fernando Alonso seemed like an obvious candidate, but comments from Zak Brown earlier in the year suggested the Spaniard is no candidate to do a full season in IndyCar due to other targets for 2020.