After an absence of 38 years, McLaren will return to the Indianapolis 500 next month, using Honda engines. McLaren will enter a single car in the 101st Indianapolis 500, powered by Honda. The McLaren-Honda-Andretti entry will be driven by current McLaren-Honda Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso. The car will be run by the Andretti Autosport team, headed by founder, owner and Chief Executive Officer Michael Andretti. Andretti is a former INDYCAR champion who raced in Formula 1 for McLaren alongside the legendary Ayrton Senna in 1993. Michael is the son of three-time INDYCAR champion and one-time Formula 1 champion Mario Andretti.
Alonso has started 275 F1 Grand Prix races, with 32 victories and two championships.
Since the Indianapolis 500 will take place on May 28 — the same day as the F1 Monaco Grand Prix — Alonso will not compete at the famed Monaco street circuit this year. McLaren-Honda is expected to announce his Monaco replacement soon.
“I’m immensely excited that I’ll be racing in this year’s Indy 500, with McLaren, Honda and Andretti Autosport,” said Alonso. “The Indy 500 is one of the most famous races on the global motorsport calendar, rivaled only by the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Monaco Grand Prix. It’s a regret of mine that I won’t be able to race at Monaco this year. But Monaco will be the only 2017 Grand Prix I’ll be missing. I’ve never raced an INDYCAR car before, and I have never driven on a superspeedway, but I’m confident that I’ll get to grips with it fast. I’ll be on a steep learning curve, but I’ll be flying to Indianapolis from Barcelona immediately after the Spanish Grand Prix, practicing our McLaren-Honda-Andretti car at Indy from May 15 onwards, hopefully clocking up a large number of miles every day.”
“It’s a great honor to partner with McLaren for the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 and to bring Fernando into one of our Andretti Autosport Hondas,” Andretti said. “Fernando’s lack of experience on super-speedways is not of concern to me. I do believe that the Indianapolis 500 is one of the best places for a rookie to start because there is the opportunity for so much practice time on the track. Fernando is a great talent and I have full confidence that he will represent very strongly for McLaren, Honda and Andretti Autosport.”
All Verizon IndyCar Series teams are expected to test at Gateway Motorsports Park on Tuesday, May 2, in preparation for the August 26 Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline (#Bommarito500). Truly an international event, the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 Presented By Valvoline for the first time will bring to Gateway all of the cars and stars of the Indianapolis 500. In addition to America’s best drivers, the race also will draw competitors from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.
Tickets for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 Presented By Valvoline are on sale and may be purchased online at http://www.gatewaymsp.com/indycar/ or by calling the GMP ticket office at (618) 215-8888.
About Gateway Motorsports Park
Gateway Motorsports Park is the home of INDYCAR, NASCAR and NHRA racing in the St. Louis region. Located just five minutes from downtown St. Louis and covering more than 340 acres, Gateway Motorsports Park is the largest outdoor entertainment facility in the area. Gateway Motorsports Park’s facilities include a 1/4-mile drag strip, 1.25-mile superspeedway, 1.6-mile road course, the state-of-the-art Gateway Kartplex and a 14-acre, multi-purpose dirt off-road venue.