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McLaren returns to Indy with Alonso

13 April 2017

After an absence of 38 years, McLaren is returning to the Indianapolis 500, using Honda engines.

On 28 May McLaren will enter a single car in the 101st Indianapolis 500, powered by Honda. The car will be run by the Andretti Autosport team, headed by founder, owner and chief executive officer Michael Andretti, a former IndyCar champion who raced in Formula 1 for McLaren alongside the legendary Ayrton Senna for a single season (1993) and is the son of three-time IndyCar champion and one-time Formula 1 champion Mario Andretti.

The McLaren-Honda-Andretti entry, a Dallara DW12 chassis as used by all IndyCar teams, will be driven by current McLaren-Honda Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso, who has started 275 Grands Prix, has won 32 of those races, has become Formula 1 world champion twice, and has been Formula 1 runner-up three times.

Alonso in China
The McLaren Honda team give the thumbs up

Its engine will be a Honda 2.2-litre twin-turbo V6, limited by IndyCar regulations to 12,000 rpm. Since the Indianapolis 500 will take place on 28 May, the same day as the Monaco Grand Prix, Fernando will not race at Monaco this year. The Indianapolis 500 will be the only 2017 IndyCar race in which Fernando will compete, however, and the Monaco Grand Prix will therefore be the only 2017 Formula 1 race in which he will not compete.

Johnny Rutherford winning the '76 Indy 500 in his M16
Alonso came 2nd in the 2007 US GP at Indy

The team first raced at Indy in 1970 with the M15. Originally Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme were entered but after McLaren withdrew and Hulme burnt his hands in practice, they were replaced by Peter Revson and Carl Williams who did not finish and finished seventh respectively. The team’s first win came in 1974 with Johnny Rutherford at the wheel of the M16. He then came second the following year and won again in 1976, its last win at the race. The team’s final race was in 1979.

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