Entering the IndyCar Series will help McLaren bring further resources to its Formula 1 team rather than detract from it, according to Zak Brown.
McLaren will partner with Schmidt Peterson Motorsport to enter IndyCar full-time next year under the Arrow McLaren Racing SP banner. The move comes after McLaren failed to qualify for this year’s Indianapolis 500 but amid a strong F1 season, and McLaren Racing CEO Brown says a presence in IndyCar should benefit the F1 team.
“Returning to IndyCar enables us to offer more commercial opportunities to our partners, in a very important market which F1 does not yet penetrate to the level I ultimately think it will do,” Brown said. “This is about commercially differentiating ourselves from our competitors to help bring additional resources to our F1 team.
“It will have, and already has had, an impact. It means we’re better positioned for partners coming into the sport. Take Arrow Electronics for example; it’s title sponsor of our IndyCar team and a very important partner of our F1 team.
Brown reiterated that the IndyCar entry is not likely to be the final new challenge McLaren takes on, and said he is looking to continue expand the team’s racing program as long as it similarly fits with its F1 focus.
“F1 will always be the pinnacle of motorsport and the pinnacle for McLaren Racing. That being said, racing is in our DNA and we have a long history of competing in other forms of motorsport. We’ve got a great GT program with McLaren Automotive, we’re now in IndyCar, and we see sports car racing as a possibility in the future.
“We’ll enter other forms of racing when we think it fits with our brand, complements our F1 team, and will result in success both commercially and on the track.”