By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Farewell Honda, and hello Chevrolet as Fernando Alonso’s second Indianapolis 500 start will be powered by 2.2 liter twin turbocharged Bowtide Brand for his McLaren Racing entry.
“It will be a privilege to wear the Bowtie Brand at the 2019 Indy 500,” Alonso about the announcement. “Having Chevrolet power behind me means we’re putting ourselves in the best possible position to compete at the front.”
Last week, Alonso got a glimpse of running a Chevy-powered car when he tested seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson’s Camaro ZL1 at Bahrain International Circuit as part of the “JJxALO” ride swap, which he said was an honor to partake on a special day.
“I had a bit of a taste of Chevy power last week in Jimmie Johnson’s NASCAR and I liked it,” said Alonso. “The opportunity to contest any Indy 500 is an honor, so I’m proud to have Chevrolet as part of the team.”
Chevrolet’s U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports Jim Campbell said Alonso’s passion for motorsports truly stands out and feels he’ll attract fans across the world to watch “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” May 26, 2019.
“It’s exciting to partner with Fernando Alonso and McLaren for the 2019 Indianapolis 500,” said Campbell. “Fernando brings incredible driving talent, and a passion for the sport and winning the biggest races in the world. When Fernando is on track, it’s electric. He generates excitement among fans everywhere.”
Tuesday morning’s announcement also marks a reunion for both Chevrolet and McLaren as they previously worked together in the Can-Am Series, beginning in 1966. During the seven-year partnership, the pair proved to be monstrous from 1968-1970, winning 23 races in a row.
Chief Executive of McLaren Racing Zak Brown said knowing the history his team has with Chevrolet, it was a no brainer for him to decide an agreement.
“McLaren and Chevrolet have a shared pedigree in North American motorsport and the opportunity to reunite the two brands for this special event was just too good to pass up,” said Brown. “Like McLaren, Chevrolet has racing in its heart. The company’s reputation in IndyCar and at this special race is first-class and they will be a powerful partner.”
Alonso is eyeing of becoming only the second driver since Graham Hill in 1972 to accomplish the Triple Crown of Motorsport, needing the 500-mile victory after winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June and scored two Monaco Grand Prix victories in both 2006 and 2007.
The two-time Formula One World Champion led 27 laps in his 500 debut before the Honda powered engine expired late in the race that relegated him down to a 24th-place result.