By David Morgan, Associate Editor
INDIANAPOLIS – Since making his full-time debut in the NTT IndyCar Series, Pato O’Ward and Arrow McLaren SP have been synonymous with each other and on Friday, it was announced that the 23-year-old will be staying put with the team for the foreseeable future.
According to a release from the team, O’Ward, who has been a part of Arrow McLaren SP since the start of the 2020 season, will remain as the pilot of the No. 5 Chevrolet though the end of the 2025 season.
Over the past two and a half seasons, the Mexican-born driver has scored three wins at Texas and Detroit in 2021 and most recently at Barber Motorsports Park at the beginning of May. Along with those wins, O’Ward has finished on the podium 10 times and started from pole on four different occasions.
“The entire team is excited that Pato is onboard for the long haul,” said Arrow McLaren SP team president Taylor Kiel. “He is an important part of our plan here at Arrow McLaren SP, his energy and work ethic is infectious. Having watched him develop since he joined the team, I look forward to building on these foundations to increase our performance and achieve our common goals in the years to come.”
“Pato is an important part of McLaren’s future in IndyCar and we are happy that he will be a key part of Arrow McLaren SP for years to come,” added McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown. “He is an incredibly talented driver who has already shown what he is capable of in IndyCar and I look forward to watching him take the next step in his promising career.”
While there were some skirmishes in the media earlier this season regarding his future with the team and whether he would remain there long-term, O’Ward expressed his excitement with Friday’s contract extension news, adding that the team has “felt like home” over the last few years.
“I am incredibly happy to have locked in my future with Arrow McLaren SP,” said O’Ward. “This team has truly felt like home for me over the past three years and I can’t wait to build on our success as we compete for wins and championships. I want to thank the whole team for this opportunity. This is exactly where I want to be.”
Five races into the 2022 season, O’Ward currently sits seventh in points and will roll off from the same position when the green flag drops on the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.
O’Ward finished sixth at Indianapolis in his first start in 2020, and improved to fourth in last year’s running of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
“It’s a huge race and it’s the most important race for all of us in our calendar,” O’Ward said of Indianapolis. “It’s a race that everyone in the paddock wants to win. It’s a wish that everyone in the paddock wants to accomplish in their career or in their life.
“It’s always definitely something that crosses your mind because you want it so bad, but you’ve got to treat it like another race. Execute when the opportunity comes and just make sure you’re there in the end to take advantage of all the work that you’re going to be doing all race to position yourself for a good result.”