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Ilott confirmed for Indianapolis 500 attempt with Arrow McLaren

Written by Dan Jones

Credit: Joe Skibinski

Callum Ilott has been confirmed to run in the Indianapolis 500 for the third time in his career after Arrow McLaren announced that the Briton will drive the No.6 car, expected to be occupied by David Malukas in 2024, until he was released by the team after missing multiple races through a mountain bike injury. Théo Pourchaire has since been announced to run the full 2024 schedule, outside the 'Greatest Spectacle in Racing.'

Ilott will race in his third Indianapolis 500, after his attempts with Juncos Hollinger Racing in 2022 and 2023. Ilott crashed out on Lap 68 of the 2022 event, before leading several laps on his way to 12th last season, despite suffering a turbulent month, after having issues with his chassis throughout the two weeks of practice in the build-up to the race.

"It is any driver’s dream to race in the Indianapolis 500, and I’d like to extend a thank you to Zak [Brown], Gavin [Ward] and Tony [Kanaan] for making this happen," Ilott said. "I’m grateful to step into this race with a familiar car and a familiar team now in Arrow McLaren."

The Indianapolis 500 will be the third time that Ilott has occupied the No.6 McLaren this season, after finishing 13th in the season opener on the Streets of St. Petersburg, and remaining in the car for the $1 Million Challenge at the Thermal Club, the Briton being unable to qualify for the 'Sprint for the Purse'. Ilott also stood in with the team at the recent 'Open Test', the first official session in the build-up to this year's event.

"While our April Open Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was shortened by weather, the runs we did have were productive," Ilott added. "I feel comfortable with the team and know that we can come together throughout the Month of May to put our best foot forward come race day."

"Callum brings experience with this team and at the Indy 500 that we think is very valuable as we enter the biggest two weeks of our season," team principal Gavin Ward said. "He and the team got along well during the first two events of the season, and we’re looking forward to carrying that over here. I’m confident that Callum and the No. 6 NTT DATA Chevy team will be competing near the front of the grid during qualifying and on race day, just like the rest of our cars."

David Malukas was initially planned to helm the No.6 car at the Indianapolis 500, as well as the other 16 points-paying races in 2024. However this all came to an end post-race at Barber Motorsports Park, where Malukas' release from the team was announced after his pre-season mountain bike injury meant that he was unable to race in any of the opening rounds in 2024.

In Malukas' absence, Ilott shared the car with Théó Pourchaire, who deputised for Malukas in Long Beach and Alabama. Last weekend, Pourchaire was announced to do the remainder of the season, apart from the Indianapolis 500, as McLaren bought the Frenchman out of his contract in the Japanese Super Formula.

Ilott was dropped by Juncos Hollinger Racing at the end of 2023 after an internal issue, and has since been racing for Jota Sport in the World Endurance Championship. Ilott comes into Indianapolis off the back of victory in the 6 Hours of Spa, the first victory for a privateer team in the series' history. It only added to the No.12 car's excellent start to the year, after their runner-up finish in the 1012km of Qatar in March.

The field has now been locked in with 34 entries, with practice and qualifying for the race taking place this week, ahead of the 'Greatest Spectacle in Racing' on May 26th. Ilott will be hoping that he isn't the one individual who's Indianapolis 500 dream is over before it's even begun, but with a pivotal week ahead, and the field locked in, it's finally time for the 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500.


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