McLaren has revealed the car Fernando Alonso will take to the Indy 500 in May.
The Spaniard will race with the number 66, in tribute to McLaren's first victory at the famous oval race with Mark Donohue in 1972 (Donohue used number 66 on all five of his Indy 500 appearances). Alonso made his Indy 500 debut in 2017 and led 27 of the 200 laps, but failed to make the finish after his Honda engine failed in the closing stages. This year's entry will be powered by Chevrolet.
A lot has changed for Alonso since 2017. That year he was still committed to a full F1 season and was granted permission by McLaren to miss the Monaco Grand Prix to participate in the event. He stepped away from F1 at the end of 2018 and, having won the Le Mans 24 Hours last year, knows a win at the Brickyard will help him claim motor racing's unofficial triple crown, which also includes the Monte Carlo race he won in 2006 and 2007.
While the team's 2017 entry was done in conjunction with Andretti Autosport, who supplied the car, this year it has been built at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, England, under the banner of McLaren Racing. The team will be headed up by the former deputy principal of the Force India F1 team, Bob Fernley.
McLaren has had success at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. While Donohue's 1972 victory was done in conjunction with Roger Penske, the team claimed the Borg-Warner Trophy in full entries with Johnny Rutherford in 1974 and 1976.
Alonso will conduct a closed test at the oval track on April 9 before taking part in the open test at the Brickyard on April 24. The two-time world champion is determined to prove he is the most complete driver of his generation, something he feels he can showcase by winning some of the most prestigious events away from Formula One.
He said: "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."