The balance of power among IndyCar’s engine suppliers will shift with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ departure from Honda and welcome by Chevrolet in the offseason as the rebadged Arrow McLaren SP.
Since the 2017 NTT IndyCar season, Team Penske has delivered every win for Chevy – 23 in total, including two Indianapolis 500s – while its other partner teams have struggled to find Victory Lane.
With the acquisition of a veteran Honda-powered outfit in Arrow SPM, which has finished as high as third in the championship for the Japanese brand, Chevy has the potential to strengthen its competitive efforts when Arrow McLaren SP enters the field.
“Chevrolet and McLaren have a storied history of racing together, going back to the mid-1960s,” said Jim Campbell, Chevy’s VP of performance and motorsports. “We are looking forward to partnering with the entire Arrow McLaren Racing SP team as we prepare for the 2020 IndyCar season.”
For McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown, the partnership with Chevy was years in the making.
“They made it very clear a couple years ago when we were in Detroit,” he told RACER. “Jim Campbell, Mark Reuss, Mark Kent, when we told them of all our desire to get into IndyCar, they made it real clear: If McLaren’s coming, let us know, we’d love to partner with McLaren. And they were outstanding at Indianapolis this year. I think they’re a great company and bunch of racers.”
With the door closed to Honda due an unseemly split with McLaren in Formula 1, the welcome from Chevrolet was important for Arrow McLaren SP. Factoring in the potential to become a significant player in the Bowtie’s IndyCar stable, Team Penske could have help in delivering future manufacturers’ championships for the brand.
“When you go down the win column, Penske puts the majority of the Chevy wins on the board,” Brown said. “And so, not wanting to speak on behalf of Chevy, clearly the more competitive teams they have, the better off they are. The NTT IndyCar Series is such a competitive series that it seems to ebb and flow. And sometimes one [brand] is stronger at Indy than another, one’s stronger on road courses than another. Their commitment is strong.
“It’s great to be in the same equipment as Roger Penske, because you know Roger’s always going to make sure he’s got the best equipment, or pushing to have the best equipment. So, I think you’re in safe hands when you have the same power in the back of your car that Roger Penske has.
“Without the support they’ve given us, this deal wouldn’t have come together. So between Arrow and Chevy, those two need a big shout-out for this marriage coming together.”
Drivers for the twin-turbo V6-powered Arrow McLaren SP entries have not been nominated by team.
Listen to the full conversation with McLaren’s Zak Brown here: