McLaren increases IndyCar commitment as it buys majority stake in team

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McLaren has given a “strong signal of our long-term commitment to IndyCar” by taking a majority shareholding in the McLaren SP team.

Two years after it entered a into partnership with the Schmidt Peterson IndyCar team, McLaren is taking a 75% share in the outfit. It has won two races already this season with Patricio O’Ward, who goes into today’s race second in the championship.

A five-person board will run the team, including Schmidt Peterson founders Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson. McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown will be among McLaren’s three appointments to the board.

“Today’s announcement is a strong signal of our long-term commitment to IndyCar as both a racing series and a marketing platform for McLaren Racing and our sponsor partners,” said Brown.

“McLaren Racing believes IndyCar will continue to build our brand in North America, serve our expanding US fan and partner base across our racing portfolio and drive long-term value. The racing is second-to-none, with world-class competitors in both drivers and teams and a passionate, highly engaged fanbase.”

Team co-owner Sam Schmidt said the increased involvement by McLaren, in addition to the support of long-term sponsors Arrow and Lucas Oils, will continue to move the team forwards.

“I’ve known Zak for 25 years,” said Schmidt. “He’s a racer and this is a group of hardcore racers. We started our partnership two years ago and it’s gone extremely well, both technically and commercially. Ric came in 2013 and moved the bar of the team up. Arrow came in a couple of years later and again we moved the bar up.

“With McLaren we’re moving forward again. As we’ve seen we’re now a regular contender and ultimately, for Ric and I, we are here to win races, win 500s and win championships. This next step ensures the resources to do that for a long time ahead.

“I want to say that we couldn’t have done this without Arrow and Lucas Oil. They really were the foundational sponsors this team was built on and we wouldn’t be here without them. McLaren is an iconic brand and we’re proud to be with them. We’re doing this to make the team better and ensure long-term success.”

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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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  • 10 comments on “McLaren increases IndyCar commitment as it buys majority stake in team”

    1. Smart move! Why hasn’t Ferrari agreed to becoming an engine manufacturer yet is a mystery. They could power one third of the field, and have a chance to win the biggest race in the world in their biggest market.

      1. They went with the LMH prototype, which will be a better use for their freed up resources IMO.
        And the incoming engine formula in Indycar is not exactly revolutionary, and is there for a looooooooong time as per tradition

      2. Being just an engine manufacturer wouldn’t suit Ferrari.
        They made the whole package.

      3. I don’t think it’s that smart a move, if they sold Applied Technology to finance this.

    2. I guess McLaren is betting on finishing 3rd in F1 and use those winnings to buy an Indy team.

      It will be interesting to see how it pans out marketing wise for a marque high end European sports car company competing against companies who are more known for making budget low priced cars (chevy & honda’s). Something I think the likes of Ferrari would prefer to avoid being compared to. I do hope it goes well for McLaren.

      1. @redpill
        That’s a very interesting point about the low priced car comparison! :) But I don’t believe it’s a valid one.
        In terms of luxurius super cars both McLaren and Ferrari compete against the likes of Lamborghini, Bugatti, Maserati or smaller manufacturers like Koenigsegg, Pagani, Acura etc. none of which are involed in sports. The only exception here I can think of is Porsche.
        Historically, in F1, Ferrari has always had to compete against the manufacturers of “ordinary” cars like Ford, Renault, Peugeot, Toyota or Honda. I don’t think the higher prestige of brands like Mercedes, BMW or Audi is far remote from that either.

        I think those brands that have great motorsports accumen are perceived as Ferrari’s peers in motorsport even if their production car offer belongs to a competely different genre.

        1. @amian

          You’re correct about F1 and Ferrari but that market is a much more dynamic and varied fan base spread through out the world. F1 also has a long history with luxurious car companies involved and it’s perceived as the very top of car racing with the fastest, most expensive and most sophisticated cars, it could be said the orig. players in F1 were luxurious super car manufacturers with common low priced car companies entering later on trying to make their own mark and beat them.

          American Indy fans are not exactly the most sophisticated market (except during Indy 500) and for the last ten years, all you hear about is Chevy and Honda in Indy for the last ten years. I think it will be fine but McLaren has way more public image to lose if they don’t beat a Honda or other Chevy teams since they’re a super car car manufacturer that is also racing in F1. They have to win, they’re not in Indy to learn anything or develop tech, I see it for marketing purposes to sell their super cars in N. America.
          Now a days in my neighborhood I’m seeing almost everyday old and new McLarens driving around. They’re definitely making their mark in car sales here in the States. If they do win the series, I think it would be a massive boost for their street car sales here in the States.

          It would almost be like Porsche entering NASCAR racing; I know it’s not quite the same but you get the gist.

      2. Good point!

        1. There’s a chill pill too!

    3. McLaren covering another demographic to increase brand awareness in what is still their biggest market. I would like to see them back at Le Mans, but the rules are not sorted yet.

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