Kanaan announces Indy 500 retirement

Tony Kanaan

Tony Kanaan

Tony Kanaan has announced that this year’s Indianapolis 500 will be his last IndyCar event.

As previously announced, the 2013 Indy 500 winner will contest the 107th running of the race in a fourth McLaren entry, three years after what was supposed to be the ‘last lap’ of his career at the top level of North American open-wheeler competition.

However, his original retirement season coincided with the outbreak of COVID-19, and then came the opportunity to drive the #48 Chip Ganassi Racing entry on ovals in 2021.

Kanaan finished 10th in that year’s Indy 500 and was on the podium last year in a fifth Ganassi Honda, but now it appears the end is finally about to come.

“It’s been a wonderful journey, but it’s not done yet,” said the Brazilian in a video posted to his social media channels.

“I will still have the pleasure to drive through the bricks one more time. Thank you all, and I’ll see you on Race Day.”

Kanaan this year joins a McLaren IndyCar line-up which has expanded to three entries on a full-time basis.

The 48-year-old was announced as the steerer of its Indy 500-only entry after McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown expressed a preference for an experienced driver.

However, it has already reached an agreement to field Kyle Larson at The Brickyard next year in a partnership with Hendrick Motorsports, a move which may have played into Kanaan’s decision.

In the final IndyCar race for the 2004 series champion, Kanaan will drive Car #66 in a nod to the year of Bruce McLaren’s Le Mans victory and also of his eponymous team’s Formula 1 debut, with backing from SmartStop Self Storage.

“It’s hard for me to say this is my final NTT IndyCar Series race and Indy 500 without getting emotional, and doing so wearing #66 and representing iconic moments in racing history make it even more special,” he said via a McLaren announcement.

The livery for Car #66 will be revealed before the Indianapolis 500 Open Test on April 20-21.

McLaren will field Pato O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist, and new recruit Alexander Rossi on a full-time basis in the 2023 IndyCar Series, which starts on the streets of St Petersburg on March 3-5.

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