Fernando Alonso will return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May to attempt his second Indianapolis 500-mile race. The two-time Formula One World Champion will drive a third entry for the newly branded Arrow McLaren SP team. Alonso will drive the No. 66 Chevrolet with sponsorship from Ruoff Mortgage. The 38-year old will have ace engineer Craig Hampson guiding him during the month of May.
Alonso provides some veteran experience to go along with their pair of rookies that have never made an Indy 500 start. Like Alonso, Pato O’Ward failed to qualify for the race last year and Oliver Askew is a true IndyCar rookie. The car is likely to sport the same colors that appeared on Takuma Sato’s Ruoff Mortgage-themed livery when he won the 2017 Indy 500. The full press release from today is below.
[Arrow McLaren SP Press Release]
Arrow McLaren SP and Fernando Alonso will join forces with title partner Ruoff Mortgage to compete this year in the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500, the team announced today. The Spaniard will join Arrow McLaren SP drivers Oliver Askew and Pato O’Ward as the team fields three cars in a blend of youth and experience at the iconic event.
Alonso, a double Formula 1 World Champion, World Endurance Champion, twice winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and winner of the 24 Hours of Daytona, will compete in his third Month of May this year, driving the No. 66 Ruoff Mortgage Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet and returning to continue his quest for motorsport’s elusive and prestigious “Triple Crown”.
Ruoff Mortgage is no stranger to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, having won a thrilling Indy 500 in 2017. The livery of the No. 66 Ruoff Mortgage Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet will be revealed in the near future.
“I am a racer and the Indy 500 is the greatest race in the world,” said Alonso. “I love the incredible fans who make it so special for all of us drivers and make me want to come back. I have maximum respect for this race and everyone who competes in it and all I want to do is race against them and give my best, as always.
“It was important for me to explore my options for this race but Arrow McLaren SP has always been at the top. I have a special relationship with McLaren; we’ve been through a lot together and that creates a bond, a loyalty that is strong.”
“But more than that, I am impressed with how the new organization and operation is developing into a strong package with the Chevrolet partnership. The team has experienced, well-qualified people and great resources, and I’m confident we can be competitive.”
“I’m focused and excited to begin our preparations. It will also be great to work with Oliver and Pato, two fantastic young talents for the future who are growing all the time.”
“Adding Fernando to the team brings a level of experience and expertise that will benefit our two young, talented full-time drivers in Oliver and Pato,” said Sam Schmidt. “We have fast cars at Indy and fully believe he has the talent to run at the front, not just participate. That, combined with Chevy power and the experience of the team, will make this trio of drivers one of the strongest in the field.”
“We’ve always said we’re open to running Fernando in a third car for the 500, so we’re delighted he’s decided to join us,” said Zak Brown. “Fernando is one of the greatest drivers in the sport and it’s fantastic to have him as part of the team. It’s a fine way to contest our first Indy 500 as Arrow McLaren SP and to have Ruoff Mortgage backing Fernando is a perfect partnership.
Alonso will make his debut with the team at the Open Test at IMS on April 30.