Fernando Alonso will race a McLaren-Honda powered car in this years 101st Indianapolis 500.
The single entry car will be run by Andretti Autosport team, headed by founder, owner and Chief Executive Officer Michael Andretti. This will see McLaren return to the Indy 500 after a 38 year absence.
The car will be powered by a Honda 2.2-litre twin-turbo V6 mated to a Dallara DW12 chassis.
By taking part in the Indy 500, the Spaniard will miss the Monaco Grand Prix which takes place over the same weekend. McLaren say that they will, in due course, announce Alonso’s replacement. Jenson Button is still listed as one of the drivers together with Olivery Turvey, Nobuharu Matsushita and Nick de Vries. There is a strong chance that we may see Jenson Button back for one race in 2017.
“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, and it’s of course 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, and I’ll be back in the cockpit of the McLaren-Honda MCL32 for the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal in early June.
“I’ve never raced an IndyCar car before, and neither have I ever driven on a super-speedway, but I’m confident that I’ll get to grips with it fast.
“I’ve watched a lot of IndyCar action on TV and online, and it’s clear that great precision is required to race in close proximity with other cars on the far side of 220mph (354km/h).
“I realise 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 15th onwards, hopefully clocking up a large number of miles every day, and I know how good the Andretti Autosport guys are.
“I’ll be proud to race with them, and I intend to mine their knowledge and expertise for as much info as I possibly can.
“I’ve won the Monaco Grand Prix twice, and it’s one of my ambitions to win the Triple Crown (the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hours), which has been achieved by only one driver in the history of motorsport: Graham Hill. It’s a tough challenge, but I’m up for it.
“I don’t know when I’m going to race at Le Mans, but one day I intend to. I’m only 35: I’ve got plenty of time for that.”