McLaren Open To Full Time IndyCar Programme
On the same day they announced that they will entry the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in partnership with Andretti Autosport with Fernando Alonso driving a Dallara DW12, McLaren have revealed that they could enter the Verizon IndyCar Series on a full time basis.
The Indianapolis 500 could potentially open the door for Fernando Alonso to move to the Verizon IndyCar Series full-time in the future.
Mansour Ojjeh, Executive Committee Principal with the McLaren Technology Group commented by saying:
Even though I’ve been a major shareholder and director of McLaren for more than 30 years, I arrived after our first IndyCar era had come to an end [in the late ’70s]. Nonetheless, I’ve attended the Indy 500, and I came away hugely impressed by the scope and scale of this enormous and well-organised event, and the sheer enthusiasm of the hundreds of thousands of fans in attendance.
“McLaren first entered the Indy 500 in 1970. We didn’t do well that year – it was the year of the sad and sudden death of our founder Bruce McLaren of course – but at Indianapolis the following year, 1971, Mark Donohue qualified his McLaren M16 in pole position. The next year, in a privateer M16B operated by Roger Penske, Donohue became the first man to win the Indy 500 in a McLaren. Johnny Rutherford would repeat the feat in both 1974 and 1976, both times in a full-works McLaren, resplendent in papaya orange.
“So, more than 30 years later, I’m pleased and proud that we’re about to embark on a new IndyCar era for McLaren, this time with Andretti Autosport and Honda. The Indy 500 is the only IndyCar race we’ll be entering this year, but we may possibly repeat that in years to come and it’s just possible that we may even run a full-works McLaren IndyCar operation at some point in the future. We’ll see.
“Equally, we may potentially enter the Le Mans 24 Hours again some time – we won it outright in 1995 with our iconic McLaren F1 GTR – but to be clear we have absolutely no definite plans to do so at this stage.