Chevrolet and McLaren have confirmed that two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso will be running a Chevy engine as he makes his second attempt at the Indy 500.
Alonso starred in the 2017 Indy 500 with a McLaren-entered Andretti Autosport-Honda entry, qualifying on the second row and leading 27 laps before his engine expired.
However, the McLaren Racing entry for the 103rd running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing will run Chevrolet’s twin-turbocharged V6. Chevy is the defending winner of the race, having powered Will Power’s Penske entry to victory last May.
Alonso last week tested Jimmie Johnson’s Chevrolet NASCAR at the Bahrain International Circuit and was later confirmed to drive for another GM brand, Cadillac, when he joins Wayne Taylor Racing for January’s Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.
The 32-time GP winner said: “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 last week in Jimmie Johnson’s NASCAR and I liked it! The opportunity to contest any Indy 500 is an honor, so I’m proud to have Chevrolet as part of the team.”
Alonso, who won the F1 World Championship in 2005 and ’06, also captured the Monaco Grand Prix in 2006 and ’07. Following his triumph with Toyota at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, Alonso is aiming to become the only driver other than Graham Hill to earn motorsport’s unofficial ‘Triple Crown’ by winning the Indy 500.
“It’s exciting to partner with Fernando Alonso and McLaren for the 2019 Indianapolis 500,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. VP of performance vehicles and motorsports. “Fernando brings incredible driving talent, and a passion for the sport and winning the biggest races in the world. When Fernando is on track, it’s electric. He generates excitement among fans everywhere.
He added: “Chevrolet and McLaren have a storied racing history dating back to the mid-1960s, so it will be special to partner with McLaren at the 2019 Indianapolis 500.”
In 1966, Chevrolet and McLaren partnered in the Can-Am Series, where their teams won over 70 percent of the races over the next seven years – including 23 in a row from 1968-1970.
Zak Brown, chief executive at McLaren Racing said: “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.
"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, president of McLaren IndyCar added: "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.”
Since Chevrolet returned to IndyCar for the introduction of the 2.2-liter V6 turbocharged era in 2012, it has been the dominant manufacturer, beating Honda in 73 of 118 races, and capturing the manufacturer championship six times and powering the champion driver five times.
However, despite Power and Penske’s victory with Chevy at IMS, in 2018 Honda finally captured its first manufacturer crown, and Scott Dixon earned the championship with the HPD-built units.
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