INDIANAPOLIS – In the not so shocking news of the day, McLaren announced on Tuesday morning that they will use Chevrolet power for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500. It will be the first time in 47 years that the two sides have partnered.
This has been long rumored and the big reason to why McLaren is doing this venture on their own. See, when they came over with Fernando Alonso in 2017, they partnered with Andretti Autosport. While they would have liked to have done so again, the bridge had been burned between Alonso, McLaren and Honda. When Andretti supplied a crew and car for Alonso to test an Indy Car at Barber back in the fall, the car had zero Honda signage on it.
Alonso had stark criticism for the way Honda handled he and McLaren’s side of things in Formula One. He spoke loudly against the Japanese manufacturer in their final year together in 2017. With Andretti being a Honda team, a joint venture again in 2019 wouldn’t make much sense.
Hence today’s announcement.
“McLaren and Chevrolet have a shared pedigree in North American motorsport and the opportunity to reunite the two brands for this special event was just too good to pass up.,” said McLaren CEO Zak Brown. “Like McLaren, Chevrolet has racing in its heart. The company’s reputation in IndyCar and at this special race is first-class and they will be a powerful partner.”
Chevrolet will provide McLaren with its 2.2-litre twin turbocharged direct injected V6 IndyCar engines for the team’s 2019 Indy 500 entry, when two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso will attempt to secure the Triple Crown of world motorsport. The Chevy power plant is the defending winner of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing and has won the 500 three times since its 2012 IndyCar Series introduction.
The 103rd Indy 500 will not be the first time that Chevrolet power has propelled a papaya McLaren. Every Can-Am car entered under the McLaren name was powered by a Chevrolet V8 engine, a winning partnership that spanned seven years. By the time McLaren left the championship in 1972, it was by far the most successful constructor, with more than 40 wins.
Since Chevrolet’s return to IndyCar Series competition seven seasons ago, drivers powered by the Chevy 2.2-litre V6 engine have captured victories in 73 of 118 races. The Bowtie Brand has won the coveted IndyCar Manufacturer Championship six times and the series’ driver and owner championships five times.
“It’s exciting to partner with Fernando Alonso and McLaren for the 2019 Indianapolis 500,” Jim Campbell, US Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports, said. “Fernando brings incredible driving talent, and a passion for the sport and winning the biggest races in the world. When Fernando is on track, it’s electric. He generates excitement among fans everywhere.
“Chevrolet and McLaren have a storied racing history dating back to the mid-1960s, so it will be special to partner with McLaren at the 2019 Indianapolis 500.”
The announcement comes after Fernando sampled Jimmie Johnson’s Chevrolet Impala NASCAR in Bahrain last Monday, the day after his last Formula 1 race, and follows the news he will be racing for Chevrolet’s sister brand, Cadillac, at the 24 Hours of Daytona in January 2019.
“It will be a privilege to wear the Bowtie Brand at the 2019 Indy 500,” Alonso said. “Having Chevrolet power behind me means we’re putting ourselves in the best possible position to compete at the front. I had a bit of a taste of Chevy power earlier this week in Jimmie’s NASCAR and I liked it! The opportunity to contest any Indy 500 is an honour, so I’m proud to have Chevrolet as part of the team.”