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Pourchaire gets McLaren seat for rest of IndyCar season bar Indy 500

by Ida Wood

Photo: Joe Skibinski

McLaren has announced that reigning Formula 2 champion Theo Pourchaire will drive for the team through the remainder of the IndyCar season bar the Indianapolis 500.

Pourchaire made his IndyCar debut in last month’s Long Beach Grand Prix as a substitute for the injured David Malukas and finished 11th, earning him another call-up for the race at Barber Motorsports Park a week later.

Malukas was then released by the team as his injury recovery continued, and McLaren signed a deal with Pourchaire to drive in this weekend’s race on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course and then again from next month’s Detroit Grand Prix to the end of the 17-round season in September.

He will miss this month’s Indy 500, which runs on IMS’s oval layout, since he has no oval experience in his racing career. Three days ago McLaren ran him in a private test on the Gateway oval, since he will race there in August.

“The IndyCar has some of the best racing in motorsport, and now I can say that with experience. I’m excited to take on this challenge with Arrow McLaren for the rest of the season,” said Pourchaire.

“This is a special opportunity, and I am committed to learning and improving as we get on track each race weekend. I’ve enjoyed my first two races with the team, and I know we have plenty of potential in front of us. Of course, I would like to thank Zak [Brown, McLaren CEO] Gavin [Ward, McLaren’s IndyCar team principal] and Tony [Kanaan, McLaren’s sporting director], as well as the Sauber F1 Team, for making this all possible.”

While Pourchaire will continue to be Kick Sauber’s reserve driver in Formula 1 alongside his IndyCar commitments, he will drop his Super Formula programme in Japan. Only one race of that has taken place so far, which he finished 18th in.