Alexander Rossi will drive for Arrow McLaren SP starting next season in multiyear deal

Alexander Rossi McLaren multiyear
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Alexander Rossi confirmed Thursday he’s signed a multiyear deal to drive for Arrow McLaren SP beginning next season after a seven-year run with Andretti Autosport.

Rossi’s departure had been widely speculated since April, though both the American driver and Michael Andretti insisted they had an exclusive negotiating window in which Rossi could not even speak to any other teams.

It contradicted Andretti’s February admission that he’d only hold Rossi to that clause “unless he finds something else.” Rossi, it turned out, indeed had decided to leave Andretti even before the start of the IndyCar season, and the Thursday confirmation was made possible when Andretti announced a day earlier that Kyle Kirkwood would drive Rossi’s No. 27 next season.

Rossi won the Indy 500 as a rookie in 2016, the first of seven victories with Andretti. The Californian is in the midst of a nearly three-year winless streak.

“The time has come for a new challenge, with a team that is growing in the sport,” Rossi said in a statement. “I look forward to contributing to the development of Arrow McLaren SP and helping them reach the top. I see the commitment this team has to each other and to me, and I’m looking forward to getting started. It’s time for me to race for another one of motorsport’s biggest names: McLaren.”

Rossi and Taylor Kiel, president of McLaren’s IndyCar team, are scheduled to discuss the signing Friday at the Detroit Grand Prix. McLaren took over majority ownership of the IndyCar team this season and has plans to expand to three cars and build a state-of-the-art facility in Indiana that mimics its Formula One factory in England.

Pato O’Ward was announced to an extension last Friday with McLaren, but its plans for a third seat have not been revealed. McLaren did not specify if Rossi will drive its planned expanded third car in 2023 or replace Felix Rosenqvist in the No. 7. Rosenqvist is in a contract year.

“Alex is a proven race winner and an Indianapolis 500 champion, who shares our desire to win,” said Zak Brown, head of McLaren Racing. “It is essential that we put the right talent in place, both inside and outside the car, so we can consistently compete for championships and race wins as a team. He is someone we have had our eye on for some time and we’re excited to see what he’ll do as a part of Arrow McLaren SP.”

SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.