It’s official — Arrow McLaren Racing SP names O’Ward, Askew in IndyCar

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It’s now official – Pato O’Ward and Oliver Askew are in and popular driver James Hinchcliffe is out at Arrow McLaren Racing SP in the NTT IndyCar Series. Both moves were expected and widely covered by NBC Sports.com on Tuesday as the news broke earlier this week.

McLaren issued the announcement at 11 a.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, October 30. It’s two-driver lineup will feature the past two Indy Lights Series champions. O’Ward won the Indy Lights title in 2018 for Andretti Autosport. Askew drove Andretti Autosport to the 2019 Indy Lights championship.

“It’s a dream come true to be joining Arrow McLaren SP for my first year in IndyCar,” said Askew, who won seven races in 2019. “The new team brings together three great partners and it’s an honor to be representing them in this new chapter for the team and for my career. This is an exciting new challenge for me and the next natural step after winning the Indy Lights title this year. I can’t wait to get started.”

For O’Ward, he is back in IndyCar, one year after he was announced as a driver for Harding Steinbrenner Racing after an impressive IndyCar debut in the 2018 season-finale. But that deal unraveled before the 2019 IndyCar season ever began. He drove a few races for Carlin, failed to make the field for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 and left IndyCar to participate in the Red Bull driver development program in Europe.

The 20-year-old driver from Mexico left that program earlier this month and has returned to IndyCar.

“I couldn’t be happier to be with Arrow McLaren SP for my first full season in IndyCar,” O’Ward said. “I’ve had some great opportunities over the last year, but this is by far the greatest thing that could possibly happen for my career. I had a taste of IndyCar earlier this year and cannot wait to represent Arrow McLaren SP in the best way possible for a full season in 2020.”

Also, the team announced the end of its relationship with popular Canadian driver James Hinchcliffe. NBC Sports.com reported on Tuesday that IndyCar Series team owners Bobby Rahal and Dale Coyne plan to talk to Hinchcliffe later this week about the possibility of putting together a third entry on their respective IndyCar teams.

The Canadian joined Arrow Schmidt Peterson in 2015 and scored three wins throughout his tenure with the team, while admirably leading the team through moments of huge adversity.

While Hinchcliffe will cease racing for the team in 2020, he remains under contract with Arrow McLaren SP but is free to seek and secure alternative options.

“James has been a great ambassador for our team, and for the sport, over the last five years,” said Arrow McLaren SP co-owner, Sam Schmidt. “Our history dates back to his early days in Indy Lights and we’ve been on a tremendous journey together. Most impressive was James’s determination to come back after his accident in 2015. I have the utmost respect for James and would like to thank him for his hard work and accomplishments during that period and wish him well in his future endeavors.

“We recognize that James is a fiercely motivated and determined competitor, and we won’t hesitate to release him unconditionally to secure another drive, whether in IndyCar or another series.”

Ric Peterson is the third ownership partner of the team and offered his thoughts on his fellow Canadian.

“James’ passion for the team has been crucial in our development since he joined us in 2015,” Peterson said. “His perseverance and teamwork led us to three wins and an Indianapolis 500 pole position. James has been a big part of our growth over the last five years and I’d like to personally thank him for everything. On behalf of the entire team, we wish him all the best moving forward.”

Arrow McLaren SP has a history of developing young talent into championship winners. The team, formerly known as Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, are the winningest Indy Lights team in history with seven championships and have given IndyCar opportunities to rising stars such as Simon Pagenaud and Robert Wickens in recent years.

“With our background in Indy Lights, I’ve followed Oliver and Pato closely over the last few years on the Road to Indy,” Schmidt. said “I couldn’t think of a better pairing as we write the first chapter in Arrow McLaren SP’s story. They’ve proven their skills on the Road to Indy and with an Indy Lights championship each, they are ready and deserving of full-time seats in IndyCar. I have no doubt that Oliver and Pato are the right drivers to move Arrow McLaren SP forward.”

Finally, Gil de Ferran is McLaren’s Sporting Director, which includes overseeing the entire IndyCar program. He gave his thoughts on the moves.“As we look to establish Arrow McLaren SP and re-establish McLaren in the world of IndyCar, I’m delighted to be welcoming these two young, homegrown talents to the team,” De Ferran said. “Oliver and Pato represent the new generation of IndyCar drivers. Proven winners and exciting prospects, I have no doubt that they will form an excellent pairing as we take on the 2020 season.

“Both drivers were super-impressive in Indy Lights, racking up 16 wins between them over the last two seasons. We have taken time and care to make a driver selection that we believe is in the best long-term interests of Arrow McLaren SP.”

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500 

Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.