Fernando Alonso will have a Chevrolet engine in his McLaren when the double Formula One champion attempts to win next year’s Indianapolis 500 at the second attempt, the British team announced on Tuesday.
The 37-year-old Spaniard led 27 laps last year on his debut at The Brickyard in a Honda-powered Andretti Autosport car before retiring with an engine problem with 21 laps to go.
The 2018 Indy 500 winner, Australian Will Power, won with Chevrolet-powered Team Penske last May.
The double Monaco Grand Prix winner, who won the Le Mans 24 Hours with Toyota this year, left Formula One at the end of the season last month and is targeting Indianapolis as the final part of the ‘Triple Crown of Motorsport’.
The late Briton Graham Hill, also a two-times Formula 1 champion who died in 1975, is the only one to have done it, completing the triple in 1972.
McLaren Racing will contest the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 with Chevrolet power.
McLaren IndyCar has today confirmed that it will partner with Chevrolet at the 2019 Indianapolis 500, the 103rd Running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, reuniting the two brands after 47 years.
Chevrolet will provide McLaren with its 2.2-litre twin turbocharged direct injected V6 IndyCar engines for the team’s 2019 Indy 500 entry, when two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso will attempt to secure the Triple Crown of world motorsport. The Chevy power plant is the defending winner of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing and has won the 500 three times since its 2012 IndyCar Series introduction.
The 103rd Indy 500 will not be the first time that Chevrolet power has propelled a papaya McLaren. Every CanAm car entered under the McLaren name was powered by a Chevrolet V8 engine, a winning partnership that spanned seven years. By the time McLaren left the championship in 1972, it was by far the most successful constructor, with more than 40 wins.
Since Chevrolet’s return to IndyCar Series competition seven seasons ago, drivers powered by the Chevy 2.2-litre V6 engine have captured victories in 73 of 118 races. The Bowtie Brand has won the coveted IndyCar Manufacturer Championship six times and the series’ driver and owner championships five times.
The announcement comes after Fernando sampled Jimmie Johnson’s Chevrolet Impala NASCAR in Bahrain last Monday, the day after his last Formula 1 race, and follows the news he will be racing for Chevrolet’s sister brand, Cadillac, at the 24 Hours of Daytona in January 2019.
Zak Brown, Chief Executive, McLaren Racing, said: “McLaren and Chevrolet have a shared pedigree in North American motorsport and the opportunity to reunite the two brands for this special event was just too good to pass up. Like McLaren, Chevrolet has racing in its heart. The company’s reputation in IndyCar and at this special race is first-class and they will be a powerful partner.”
Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports, Chevrolet, said: “It’s exciting to partner with Fernando Alonso and McLaren for the 2019 Indianapolis 500. Fernando brings incredible driving talent, and a passion for the sport and winning the biggest races in the world. When Fernando is on track, it’s electric. He generates excitement among fans everywhere.
“Chevrolet and McLaren have a storied racing history dating back to the mid-1960s, so it will be special to partner with McLaren at the 2019 Indianapolis 500.”
Fernando Alonso, McLaren driver, said: “It will be a privilege to wear the Bowtie Brand at the 2019 Indy 500. Having Chevrolet power behind me means we’re putting ourselves in the best possible position to compete at the front. I had a bit of a taste of Chevy power earlier this week in Jimmie’s NASCAR and I liked it! The opportunity to contest any Indy 500 is an honour, so I’m proud to have Chevrolet as part of the team.”
Bob Fernley, President, McLaren IndyCar, said: “Our partnership with Chevrolet is a key piece of our plan for the 2019 Indy 500. As the reigning winning engine, the Chevrolet motor puts us in a strong position to contest this incredibly challenging event. We’ve quickly established a strong working relationship with the Chevrolet team, who are absolute professionals, committed to the challenge, and true racers.”