McLaren Racing announced today it will return to full-time IndyCar competition from 2020 in a strategic partnership with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (Arrow SPM) and Chevrolet. 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.McLaren.com
So after much speculation and much anticipation, McLaren will partner with SPM for the 2020 season and go full time. McLaren had been linked to joining Andretti, but criticism of the Honda engines forced the deal to go sour and have them convince SPM to switch to Chevorlet.
The move makes sense. They need to know how to run full time in IndyCar to be able to compete in the Indy 500 to get Alonso his coveted triple crown and apparently, while they aren’t going to run Alonso full time, their target is Andretti’s crown jewel rookie Colton Herta. Herta, as a rookie, won in Austin and got pole position at Road America.
It’ll be a breath of fresh air in IndyCar to have a racing powerhouse join the mix to shake up the field. It’ll be curious to see if they elevate the performance of SPM’s current drivers James Hinchcliffe and former Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericsson.