Arrow McLaren SP has confirmed that Oliver Askew and Pato O’Ward will be the team’s drivers for the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season.
The move, first reported by RACER on Monday, provides the team with past two champions in Indy Lights – the top rung of the Road to Indy ladder series – and a pairing that combines to form the youngest driver lineup currently confirmed for next year’s grid.
“With our background in Indy Lights, I’ve followed Oliver and Pato closely over the last few years on the Road to Indy,” said Arrow McLaren SP co-owner, Sam Schmidt. “I couldn’t think of a better pairing as we write the first chapter in Arrow McLaren SP’s story. They’ve proven their skills on the Road to Indy and with an Indy Lights championship each, they are ready and deserving of full-time seats in IndyCar. I have no doubt that Oliver and Pato are the right drivers to move Arrow McLaren SP forward.”
“As we look to establish Arrow McLaren SP and re-establish McLaren in the world of IndyCar, I’m delighted to be welcoming these two young, homegrown talents to the team,” said Gil De Ferran, sporting director of McLaren Racing. “Oliver and Pato represent the new generation of IndyCar drivers. Proven winners and exciting prospects, I have no doubt that they will form an excellent pairing as we take on the 2020 season.
“Both drivers were super-impressive in Indy Lights, racking up 16 wins between them over the last two seasons. We have taken time and care to make a driver selection that we believe is in the best long-term interests of Arrow McLaren SP.”
“It’s a dream come true to be joining Arrow McLaren SP for my first year in IndyCar,” said Askew, who won seven races en route to the 2019 Indy Lights title. “The new team brings together three great partners and it’s an honor to be representing them in this new chapter for the team and for my career. This is an exciting new challenge for me and the next natural step after winning the Indy Lights title this year. I can’t wait to get started.”
“I couldn’t be happier to be with Arrow McLaren SP for my first full season in IndyCar,” said O’Ward, who took the 2018 Indy Lights title with nine wins. “I’ve had some great opportunities over the last year, but this is by far the greatest thing that could possibly happen for my career. I had a taste of IndyCar earlier this year and cannot wait to represent Arrow McLaren SP in the best way possible for a full season in 2020.”
With Arrow, McLaren’s Zak Brown Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson opting for youth to spearhead their newly-formed partnership, veteran James Hinchcliffe is left without a seat.