INDIANAPOLIS – The big new sis now official – McLaren Racing announced on Friday morning that they will return as a full-time participant in the NTT IndyCar Series for 2020. In order for them to do this, they’ve formed a strategic partnership with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (Arrow SPM) as well as 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 program 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, and 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,” said McLaren CEO Zak Brown. “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.”
de Ferran, commented that he feels like the series is a natural fit for them.
“IndyCar is a natural fit for McLaren, given our legacy and determination to succeed at the top levels of international motorsport. Our ambition, over time, is to consistently compete for wins and championships. We acknowledge the challenge ahead of us but McLaren is committed to this partnership and to supporting the team as a whole.”
In order to make this work, SPM had to sever their contract for next season with Honda which the manufacturer, albeit not thrilled to do so, let SPM out of their deal a year early.
“I’m extremely proud of the team that Ric and I have built and that a legendary brand like McLaren Racing has decided to partner with us to form Arrow McLaren Racing SP to continue our march to the top of IndyCar,” Sam Schmidt said. “Arrow is a tremendous partner which has been integral to our growth as a team since 2015 and to the creation of this new partnership. The combined technical resources and commercial opportunities both McLaren and Arrow bring to the table provide a winning.”
Ric Peterson, Co-Owner, Arrow SPM, commented – “I’m really excited that we could pull together our long-term partner Arrow and forge a new partnership with McLaren to become a unified force. I’m equally thrilled that Sam and I are able to continue on in our long-standing relationship together and maintain our ownership position in the company. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
The drivers for this two car joint effort aren’t yet known as it’s believed that both current SPM drivers won’t be back with this entry next season.