Adam Stern did his best Woj bomb impression Monday afternoon as the motorsports insider tweeted out that McLaren is exploring the possibility of fielding a car full time for the 2019 IndyCar season;
— McLaren staff has been in Indy developing effort.
— McLaren and RLL decline comment; AA comment below. pic.twitter.com/KjAqOGc2VE
— Adam Stern (@A_S12) May 14, 2018
Las season McLaren teamed up with Andretti Autosport to field a car for 2-time Formula 1 World Champ Fernando Alonso. The car led laps and was in contention to win before the Honda motor expired. An appropriate ending for Alonso who came to America to escape his McLaren Honda F1 team and all their engine woes.
Following that race, McLaren CEO Zak Brown said the team would explore the possibility of fielding an IndyCar team. It appears that time has finally come. The team fielded cars for the Indianapolis 500 in the 1970’s and claiming wins in 1974 and 1976 Johnny Rutherford.
McLaren and their Papaya Orange livery appear set to join the IndyCar ranks as early as 2019. A partnership with Andretti Autosport or Rahal Letterman Lanigan will ensure the team gets off the ground much faster than Juncos or Carlin have this year. RLL would benefit the most from the partnership, but McLaren could be looking for a stronger team to pair with.
No word on who the driver would be or anything like that. Fernando Alonso wants to do the 500 again someday, McLaren fielding a car is the first step in that direction. One thing McLaren could do is develop drivers in IndyCar like it’s 2000 and Williams is loaning Juan Montoya out to Ganassi.
It’s great news that McLaren wants to join IndyCar. It speaks volumes to the reach, appeal, and competition of the series. While NASCAR continues to seemingly struggle to attract new viewers, owners, sponsors, etc, IndyCar appears to be on the uptick.
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