McLaren to run Chevrolet power at Indy 500 as Honda link severed

McLaren’s 2019 Indy 500 effort will be powered by Chevrolet as the team’s final links with Honda appear to have been cut.

McLaren’s car for the 2019 Indianapolis 500 will be powered by Chevrolet. The ‘McLaren IndyCar’ team for the race in May is currently being put together after confirmation of their efforts last month. The car will be driven by Fernando Alonso as he attempts to take the ‘Triple Crown’ of motorsport, i.e. wins at the Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans 24 Hours, and the Indy 500.

However, there were question marks over what engine would be in the back of the McLaren following the Formula 1 team’s failed relationship with the Japanese marque. Honda, who powered the car Alonso drove in a competitive showing at the race in 2017, have since cosied up with the two Red Bull F1 teams as McLaren embarked on a new partnership with Renault.

Alonso, who was a vocal critic of Honda’s engines in Formula 1, drove a Chevy NASCAR in Bahrain last week as part of a promotional event with multiple Champion Jimmie Johnson and it’s now no surprise that McLaren/Chevrolet have partnered up for the IndyCar effort. Alonso will also be driving the Daytona 500 with Cadillac in January, both brands falling under the GM banner.

The team will be provided with 2.2 litre twin turbo V6 engines for the race – the engine that won the 2018 race with Team Penske’s Will Power. The engine also won the 2015 race with Juan Pablo Montoya and 2013 with Tony Kanaan.

“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.” said McLaren CEO Zak Brown. “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.”

Bob Fernley, formerly of Force India, is now the President of the McLaren IndyCar effort, reporting to Zak Brown. He 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.”

Alonso, who will become the first contemporary driver to win the Triple Crown if he pulls off the victory, says Chevy will give him a good chance at doing so: “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.”

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Thomas Maher

Co-owner, Chief Editor and a journalist for - Ireland's only accredited F1 & Formula E website.

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