McLaren unveils Fernando Alonso’s 2019 Indy 500 challenger

by Jordan Groves

McLaren Racing has today unveiled the #66 Chevrolet IndyCar that Fernando Alonso will drive in the 2019 Indianapolis 500 at the end of May. As expected, the livery bares many resemblances to McLaren’s Formula 1 car with its papaya and blue colour scheme.

Unlike McLaren’s last Indy 500 attempt back in 2017, the #66 McLaren Chevrolet was built at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking. Two years ago, the team partnered with Andretti Autosport for Alonso’s #29 car. This time around, the team have a technical alliance with fellow British squad Carlin, but McLaren is taking much more of an active role in the whole programme now.

“The reveal of the No. 66 car and livery is an important moment for McLaren Racing’s journey to the Indianapolis 500,” said Zak Brown, the CEO of McLaren Racing. “It represents the beginning of the next phase of our program and reflects a tremendous amount of hard work by our specialist Indy 500 team at the McLaren Technology Centre. We are all looking forward to seeing the No. 66 out on track for the first time on April 24.”

As Brown alluded to, the #66 will hit the track for the first time on Wednesday, April 24 during an open test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Prior to that, Alonso will take part in a test at Texas Motor Speedway tomorrow in a sister car prepared by Carlin in order to get his eye back in with IndyCar and oval racing.

Fernando will have some differences to get used to compared to his 2017 outing, with the cars now having much less aerodynamic grip than before.

Following today’s unveiling, Fernando stated that he was grateful for everyone at McLaren for their hard work during the build of the #66 car, before going on to reaffirm his desires to complete the triple crown. With victories at the Monaco Grand Prix and the 24 hours of Le Mans already on Fernando’s resume, his sole target now is to win at Indianapolis.

“I’m excited we are finally able to reveal to the world the No. 66 car which I’ll be racing with McLaren at the Indy 500 in May,” Alonso said today. “The team at the McLaren factory has worked very hard to build this car ready for our return to the iconic Brickyard, and 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 U.S. fans who made me feel so welcome first time around.”

Following Fernando’s two testing outings tomorrow and on April 24, the Spaniard will next be behind the wheel of the #66 McLaren Chevrolet on the first day of practice for the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500, which will get underway on Tuesday, May 14. The two days of qualifying will take place from Saturday, May 18 to Sunday, May 19. The race itself will take place the following weekend on Sunday, May 26.

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