The McLaren Racing team will make its full-time return to IndyCar competition next season in a partnership with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports under the Arrow McLaren Racing SP banner.
The two-car program, utilizing the current Arrow SPM staff and a new group of McLaren personnel assembled specifically for the IndyCar project, will debut in 2020 using Chevrolet engines. Drivers have not been announced, leaving the future of James Hinchcliffe and Marcus Ericsson at Arrow McLaren SP in question.
Of interest, Arrow SPM’s existing commitment to field a car for Robert Wickens, who was injured in one of its entries at Pocono in August of 2018, will be honored when the Canadian star is able to resume his IndyCar career, if he chooses to do so with the reconfigured team.
Indy 500 winner and former IndyCar entrant Gil de Ferran, who serves as McLaren’s sporting director, will become McLaren’s dedicated IndyCar program leader, working alongside Arrow SPM president Jon Flack and general manager Taylor Kiel.
McLaren’s partnership with Arrow SPM co-owners Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson does not involve purchasing the team outright or acquiring the individual ownership stakes held by Schmidt or Peterson.
“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 Racing 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.”
For Schmidt, the relationship with McLaren, which brings significant resources to the table, has the potential to make Arrow McLaren SP a regular contender for podiums and wins.
“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,” he 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 combination.”
Peterson, who joined forces with Schmidt in 2013, says the new relationship with McLaren brings renewed optimism for a team with aspirations of fighting Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi, and Team Penske for future championships.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Unifying Arrow Electronics’ primary involvements in racing – McLaren in Formula 1 and Arrow SPM in IndyCar – under one roof is another major accomplishment in the formation of Arrow McLaren SP.
“Advancement in automotive technology continues to be a powerful growth driver for our business,” said Arrow CEO Mike Long. “We are delighted to see our partners join forces in a way that provides an even broader platform and showcase for Arrow’s engineering and innovation.”
Along with Arrow, Brown is pleased to develop an increased relationship with Chevrolet.
“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,” he said. “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.”
With a pair of Dallara DW12s purchased for the 2019 Indy 500, and other key support equipment in hand, McLaren is expected to combine its hardware with Arrow SPM’s, giving the organization considerable depth to draw from in the final years of the current chassis and engine formula.
Listen to the full conversation with McLaren’s Zak Brown here: