McLaren Racing was evaluating a potential full-time entry into the NTT IndyCar Series for 2020, but has ruled out such a program following its failure to qualify to the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500.
Speaking to RACER, McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said the team probably won’t field a car full-time in IndyCar 2020, electing to instead focus solely on the Indy 500.
“I think it’s highly unlikely we’ll be in IndyCar full-time next year,” Brown said. “As enthusiastic as I am for IndyCar, given where we are in Formula 1, given what we just went through at Indy, I’d like to see us go back to Indy and get that right as a next step instead of totally jumping in. So I think it’s highly unlikely we’re in IndyCar full-time in 2020.”
McLaren has been working alongside two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso in his quest to win the Triple Crown of motorsport, which consists of a win at the Monaco Grand Prix, 24 Hours of Le Mans and Indy 500. Alonso has already won at Monaco at Le Mans and seems intent on winning the 500 race with McLaren, but many have their doubts the pair can win it with a one-off entry.
Brown said the team is open to running a race or two ahead of next year’s Indy 500, like the Indianapolis GP for example, to ensure the team is up to par from an operational standpoint. He didn’t mention running one of the remaining oval races like Pocono or Texas, however, despite already having the car and equipment to do so.
Alonso first contested the Indy 500 in 2017 in Andretti Autosport equipment with McLaren branding. He ran near the front the pack for the majority of the race before his Honda engine let go.
The Chevrolet powered car that failed to qualify for this year’s race was built by Carlin but fielded by McLaren. The team had originally intended to compete with a car it assembled at its factory in England, however that chassis was totalled in practice. It’s still not clear why McLaren chose to build itself only one car.