The rumors of the McLaren marque returning full-time to the IndyCar Series are gathering pace as officials from the team attended last weekend’s Indianapolis Grand Prix.
McLaren-mounted drivers took three Indianapolis 500 wins (Mark Donohue in 1972, Johnny Rutherford in ’74 and ’76) and two championships (Roger McCluskey in ’73, Tom Sneva in ’77), and had amassed 28 wins in 10 years by the time it pulled out of Indy car racing at the end of 1979.
Its most recent involvement was at last year’s Indy 500, in which it backed a sixth Andretti Autosport-Honda driven by two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard, who played a starring role throughout the 2017 Month of May, has since admitted he would love to return to Indianapolis.
The Sports Business Daily revealed McLaren team officials attended last weekend’s IndyCar round on the IMS road course, looking at possible partnerships with Andretti Autosport or Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
However, Andretti Autosport is considered more likely, given their previous partnership, and McLaren CEO Zak Brown’s other race team, United Autosports, is partners with Michael Andretti (and Ryan Walkinshaw) in Australia’s Supercars series.
Invited to comment on the rumors, Andretti Autosport told Motorsport.com: “We think McLaren would be a valuable addition to the IndyCar paddock. Our partnership for the 2017 Indy 500 proved to be successful and we would welcome the opportunity to work with them again.
Although the Rahal Letterman Lanigan response was a no comment, a McLaren spokesman told Motorsport.com he would “neither confirm nor deny” rumors of a full-time entry, which could come possibly as soon as 2019.