McLaren IndyCar, 2019

McLaren reveal Alonso’s car for Indy 500

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McLaren have revealed the car Fernando Alonso will drive on his return to the Indianapolis 500 this year.

The two-times Formula 1 world champion will make his second attempt to win the race. He led 27 out of 200 laps on his debut in the 2017 Indy 500, but retired after his Honda engine failed.

As revealed by RaceFans last year, Alonso will use Chevrolet power for his return to the race next month. He will drive car number 66, which is the same number Mark Donohue used to win the 1972 Indianapolis 500 in a Penske-run McLaren M16.

Alonso will test one of the team’s two cars at Texas Motor Speedway tomorrow. He will then participate in an open test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

“The team at the McLaren factory has worked very hard to build this car ready for our return to the iconic Brickyard,” said Alonso. “I think it looks fantastic in the 2019 McLaren Racing colours.

“My hopes for the race remain the same, to win and achieve the Triple Crown, and I’m looking forward to meeting the fantastic US fans who made me feel so welcome first time around.”

The car carries the logos of British American Tobacco’s brand Vuse. McLaren ran the logos for BAT’s Vype product on its F1 car in Bahrain.

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McLaren IndyCar, McLaren M16, 2019
McLaren IndyCar, McLaren M16, 2019

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 33 comments on “McLaren reveal Alonso’s car for Indy 500”

    1. Is MCL only livery and decals or chassis too?
      Used with F1 cars, Indy ones appear a bit little and not equally protective.. any head safety device yet across the ocean?

      1. I see distinct lack of head protection aswell.

        But hey a land where sex is safe and motosport dangerous.

        1. In 2 years we’ve gone from ‘Ew why head protection? This is open cockpit, open wheel racing, it should be dangerous!!!!!’ to ‘Why no head protection? Looks weird.’ This makes me feel nice.

      2. Indy is a spec series, there is one chassis option which all teams get, that’s from Dallara, and 2 engine options split roughly equal between the teams between Honda and Chevrolet. There’s also only 2 aero specs, so no aero development either throughout a season. The car in the pic is in low drag, speedway/oval spec, and there’s the high downforce spec for street and normal circuits. What the teams do is set the cars up for the race depending on driver preference and conditions. No head protection as of yet but they experimented with a few solutions in the past and i think plans are to bring it in either next year or whenever the next chassis spec cycle starts (2020 or 2021 if i’m not wrong). Halo isn’t an option for them

      3. IndyCars are designed to make crashes into concrete walls at 200+mph
        survivable, if not routine. As a spec series they can also be built to consistent safety standards across the grid.

        They were exploring an “aeroscreen” for cockpit safety, having rejected an F1-style halo for visibility reasons. For unclear reasons, this aeroscreen solution has been dropped for now and instead they are introducing a small raised fin just in front of the cockpit to help protect drivers from frontal debris impacts. I guess it’s analogous to the lower front section of the halo.

        Apart from the lack of a full halo, the tubs themselves are as safe as they can be considering the inherent risks of oval racing.

        1. EB (@ebchicago)
          9th April 2019, 2:42

          The aero screen option they were testing didn’t do as well in crash testing as they hoped it would. They are still planning on going to that as a solution, they are just working on materials that don’t distort driver vision yet offer enough protection to be worth it.

      4. Thank you everyone for gentle explanation indeed.

      5. They have head protection… It’s called a helmet.

        1. Great sense of humour!

    2. If it goes as fast as it looks then I would be delighted to drive it :)

    3. these guys can follow at mega speeds right?

      1. the new indycars don’t follow as well in speedway aerokit as the old ones, the ones fernando raced in 2017

      2. The F1 cars can follow each other just fine on a track like that aswell.

    4. I don’t know why Alonso might want to drive this thing*, but if he likes it – good for him.

      * Yeah-yeah, “Triple crown” and so on, but in my personal view, there’s no value in modern Indy.

      1. You’re joking right? No value in winning the biggest race on earth, and the Triple Crown???

        1. The biggest race on earth is the Baja 1000, and your triple crown wasnt even mentioned 5 years ago before Alonso started using it as an excuse for his losing attitude…. so yeah… the only value there is Alonso himself.

          1. Graham Hill talking about the triple crown was only 5 years ago? Time sure flies.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOgI-RSAo9o

            1. I’d never heard of the triple crown before Alonso brought it up and I suspect that is true for most racing fans.

    5. I live 10 miles from where Alonso is going to test tomorrow – would be fun to go watch, but I am suspect the track will be closed to observers.

    6. VUSE is made by Reynolds American, which used to be R. J. Reynolds, American Tobacco Company, and Brown & Williamson. BAT had stakes in ATC and B&W, which presumably morphed into a stake in Reynolds American.

    7. Tidy looking car, I’m really looking forward to watching the race now.

    8. After all rumors of last year, I was a bit dissapointed that Alonso and MCL haven’t entered a car to compete the entire season, would have been great to see him fight the Indy “veterans”. He always said that he can beat anyone in similar machinery, so Indy was the perfect series to show if that’s true or not. Maybe it conflicted with his other commitments, but so far it seems that except for a couple of races in WEC he’s not going to have a full calendar this year.

      1. Good riddance to bad Alonso.

        You touched upon your answer in your own question. Alonso isn’t a better Indy car driver than the rest of the indycar field. I’m no fan of Indy car, but it’s its own thing, with it’s own set of drivers Who have paid their dues to come up in the ranks by being good at driving an Indy car. As opposed to Alonso who thinks he’s a god (and has tons of lackeys to agree with him). He’s good… but his attitude absolutely stinks.

    9. Call me nostalgic, but that M16 looks 1000 times better, like a proper race car should be. Much more proportional than Alonso’s car. For me the road spec Indy are great, but these speedway spec looks really bizarre.

    10. It’s cool that they are racing the modern livery, unlike in 2017 when they intended a sort of “vintage” look, with the cursive writting for the name and all that. But I’m with @mmertens, compared to the M16 this is an orange sausage with wheels.

    11. McLaren reveal Alonso’s car for Indy 500

      Didn’t we knew what the car was for at least one year now? This is just paint!

      Yes yes I know, go away, get out

      1. Didn’t get your fiber today I assume..

        1. The vitamins! I’m all set now

    12. I really like how clean that car is. Last year top qualification speed was 228 mph at Indy; Gil de Ferran set a one-lap qualifying record of 241.428 mph (388.541 km/h) at the 2000 Marlboro 500, a CART event at the California Speedway, the fastest ever lap in a racing event. I used to attend the CART road races in Portland, Oregon and was always amazed at the speeds carried through the turns; the CART cars were challenging F1 BITD, too bad the split took place.

    13. As someone who vividly remembers all of Jim Clark’s ground breaking races and esp is win in 1965, I’d love to see another F1 driver and team win @ Indy.

      However, considering McClaren’s last serveral years in F1, it’s difficult to believe that they will suddenly get it right this year. Still, I wish hi luck.

    14. I don’t think the team will be allowed to run the VUSE logo on the car in May.

    15. Not usually fan of IndyCar chassis and designs, but this one is not too shabby. And get a load of these tiny wings

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