IndyCar: McLaren partners with Chevy for Alonso Indy 500 program
By Mark Glendenning | RACER.com editor
Fernando Alonso’s second Indianapolis 500 campaign will be powered by Chevrolet.
“It will be a privilege to wear the Bowtie Brand at the 2019 Indy 500,” Alonso said. “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 last week in Jimmie Johnson’s NASCAR and I liked it! The opportunity to contest any Indy 500 is an honor, so I’m proud to have Chevrolet as part of the team.”
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Alonso’s entry will be run by McLaren, and the Chevrolet deal rekindles a relationship that dates back half a century to when Chevy V8s powered the Can-Am cars that helped put the team on the map. That McLaren/Chevrolet pairing delivered a 70 percent win rate across a seven-year stretch starting in 1966, including 23 consecutive victories between 1968 and 1970.
“It’s exciting to partner with Fernando Alonso and McLaren for the 2019 Indianapolis 500,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “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.”
Alonso heads into next year’s Indy 500 having already ticked off two thirds of the Triple Crown of Motorsports, with his win in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans joining a Monaco victory in 2006, leaving just Indianapolis as the final box to tick in order to become the only driver other than Graham Hill to have won all three. McLaren’s Zak Brown said that the Chevrolet deal gives Alonso the best possible chance to find success at the Brickyard.
“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,” he said. “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.”
The two-time world champion impressed on his Honda-powered debut at the Speedway last year with Andretti Autosport, qualifying on the second row and running comfortably in the top 10 before dropping out with an engine failure.
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