McLaren have launched their IndyCar challenger for the 2020 season as they prepare for a full-time return to the series as Arrow McLaren SP. Although McLaren have entered into two recent Indianapolis 500s – with Fernando Alonso almost winning in 2017 before failing to qualify in 2019 – the iconic event was treated as a one-off race by the team. But in 2020 they are returning for their first full-time IndyCar series since 1979.
McLaren have teamed up with what was previously Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, a team with seven IndyCar victories, to make the new Arrow McLaren SP team. At an event in Indianapolis, newly-signed race drivers Patricio O’Ward and Oliver Askew pulled the wraps off the cars they will be driving in 2020, with McLaren’s papaya colour merged with the team’s previous black livery. All IndyCars, meanwhile, will feature the Aeroscreen for the first time this year to improve cockpit safety for drivers. “I’m emotional,” said McLaren sporting director Gil de Ferran. “This is the official start of an journey that goes back several months now. I’m really looking forward to the journey ahead. “Working with these guys is a real honour and a pleasure for all of us.” Team co-owner Sam Schmidt declared: “We’re here to win.” The Indianapolis-based team have switched from Honda to Chevrolet engines, with their driver line-up comprising of the two most recent Indy Lights champions in O’Ward (2018) and Askew (2019). “It’s very hard-working groups coming together to form something even bigger,” said O’Ward. Askew, meanwhile, said that “we have the best-looking cars on the grid”. The 2020 season begins on March 15 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, with every qualifying session and race live on Sky Sports F1. McLaren are launching their F1 car next week, on February 13, as the team look to build on their impressive fourth from last season.