By: Justin Reschke
April 13, 2019 | 1:00 PM
McLaren CEO Zak Brown held a press conference today from the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach to shed some light on the marques upcoming Indy 500 effort with driver Fernando Alonso making his second attempt at the Brickyard. Brown also discussed McLaren’s future IndyCar plans and shared some information on how preparations for the month of May are progressing.
On the decision to pursue the Indy 500 once again, this time with a McLaren entered car, Brown said “North America is a very important market for McLaren. The shareholders want to see McLaren racing grow.”
McLaren has partnered with Carlin Racing to assist with data sharing and some logistical efforts. Carlin is running former F1 driver Max Chilton, Charlie Kimball, and rookie Patricio O’Ward in the NTT Data IndyCar Series for 2019. I’m addition to their IndyCar efforts, Carlin also operates a Formula 3 team in Europe that saw current McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris win the F3 Championship behind the wheel of a Carlin in 2017.
“Carlin is a great team, we’ve known them for quite some time. They ran Lando Norris. They’re a very good team,” said Brown.
McLaren made the decision to only enter one car in this year’s Indy 500 without considering a second entry, Brown revealed.
“No we never considered two cars. This was part of the reason we created a relationship with Carlin”.
The McLaren CEO asserted McLaren’s aspirations for enter IndyCar full time in the future and shed some light on when that may occur.
“A full season entry has not been ruled out and that decision will be made this summer for 2020. If it doesn’t happen for 2020 then 2021 is certainly a possibility,” stated Brown.
Brown continued, “I think if we come into IndyCar racing it would definitely be a two car team, that’s for sure.”
Zak Brown’s commitment to being in Long Beach this weekend speaks volumes for his enthusiasm about IndyCar. Between staying involved with McLaren’s F1 team this weekend at the Chinese Grand Prix via a “triple-double secret laptop that allows me to be essentially on the pit wall in China,” and driving in the historic race this weekend Brown confirmed that he has been getting very little sleep.
Seemingly with approval from the McLaren shareholders, no major issues preparing for the 2019 Indy 500, as well as a stated intention to pursue a two-car full-season IndyCar entry, the prospects of McLaren entering IndyCar full time appear brighter than ever.
Zak Brown’s enthusiasm for IndyCar and the growth of McLaren racing could lead to a full season IndyCar entry sooner rather than later.
Image by Justin Reschke/Open-Wheels.com.