A return to IndyCar competition for McLaren is ‘looking favourable’ according to the squad’s CEO Zak Brown.
In charge of McLaren’s racing commitments, Brown has been investigating IndyCar ahead of a possible return for the British marque as early as next season.
“We’re seriously considering IndyCar; we’ve been doing some due diligence for quite some time,” Brown admitted.
“As stated before, if we’re going to get into other forms of motorsport, which McLaren has a great history in, we need to do it in a way that first and foremost doesn’t compromise our Formula 1 activities, or we wouldn’t consider it.
“It needs to be commercially viable, something we feel we can be competitive in, and fits our brand.
“It has to tick all of those boxes, not most of those boxes.
“We’re not done yet with our due diligence, but it’s looking favorable.
“So, we’ll take a decision in order to be prepared for 2019 sometime in the upcoming months, and if we’re confident we can tick those boxes, then it’s something we’ll probably move forward on.”
Over the Canadian Grand Prix weekend Andretti Autosport team owner Michael Andretti was a guest of McLaren.
Andretti and Brown are partners with Ryan Walkinshaw in the Walkinshaw Andretti United Supercars squad, while Andretti Autosport fielded Fernando Alonso’s entry into the 2017 Indianapolis 500.
The Spaniard’s future is seen to be among the driving factors for a potential return to IndyCar for McLaren amid growing speculation that he’s set to leave F1 at the end of the season, the World Endurance Championship and IndyCar likely destinations.
“We’re in talks with Fernando. It was about this time last year that we started having conversations,” Brown said.
“He’s been doing F1 a long time, I think he’s enjoying driving as much as he ever has. I think he’s driving better than he ever has.
“He’s a little frustrated with F1 being a bit more of a constructors’ championship than a drivers’ championship.
“He loves F1, loves WEC, did Daytona (24 Hours with United Autosports), so hopefully we’ll keep Fernando in the McLaren environment in some way, shape or form.
“I don’t really want to elaborate on the conversations that we’re having with him beyond what I’ve spoken about, but I think any time he sees a race-winning car in front of him he’s going to want to drive it, no matter what it is.”
McLaren competed in IndyCar throughout the 1970s, supplying championship and Indy 500 winning cars to a number of teams, including Penske.
Since then the company has primarily focused its efforts on Formula 1, though did have a foray into sportscar racing in the mid-1990s with the McLaren F1 road car, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995.
More latterly its road car division has expanded to include McLaren 650S GT3, which was produced under a license agreement with CRS, trading under the name McLaren GT.
McLaren Automotive has since taken development and production of the 720S GT3 back in-house under the McLaren Motorsport banner ahead of its 2019 racing debut.