Arrow McLaren SP and double Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso confirmed their partnership for the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES team announced Tuesday.
The Spaniard has competed in a pair of Month of Mays – in 2017 and ’19 – and will join Arrow McLaren SP drivers Oliver Askew and Pato O’Ward. Alonso will drive the No. 66 Ruoff Mortgage Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.
Alonso also is a World Endurance Champion, twice winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and a winner of the 24 Hours of Daytona. He is returning to Indianapolis to continue his quest for motorsport’s elusive and prestigious “Triple Crown.” He led 27 laps in the 2017 500.
Ruoff Mortgage is returning to the 500 after winning the event with Takuma Sato 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, whose other Indy events were in association with McLaren. “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.”
Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt, whose organization helped Dan Wheldon win the Indianapolis 500 in 2011, said Alonso will bring “a new level of experience and expertise that will benefit our two young, talented full-time drivers.”
“We have fast cars at Indy and fully believe (Alonso) has the talent to run at the front, not just participate,” Schmidt said. “That, combined with Chevy power and the experience of the team, will make this trio of drivers one of the strongest in the field.”
Alonso's car will be engineered by veteran engineer Craig Hampson.
“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, CEO, McLaren Racing. “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.
Mark Music, CEO, Ruoff Mortgage, said the company is “beyond thrilled” to sponsor Alonso in an Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.
“We hope Fernando takes home the coveted Triple Crown of Motorsport in the Ruoff Mortgage car at this year’s Indy 500,” he said. “It’s going to be a very exciting race.”
The 500 is the sixth race of the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule that begins March 13-15 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (3 p.m., NBC Sports Network). The 500 will air live on NBC on Sunday, May 24 at 11 a.m.