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Siegel replaces Pourchaire with multi-year deal at Arrow McLaren

Written by Archie O’Reilly

Nolan Siegel has made a permanent step up to the NTT IndyCar Series with Arrow McLaren in their No.6 Chevy, signing a multi-year deal to replace Theo Pourchaire after only five races in the series for the reigning FIA Formula 2 champion.

Siegel will make his debut for the papaya team in his home race at Laguna Seca this weekend, becoming the fourth driver signed to pilot the No.6 entry this year.

“I’m looking forward to jumping right in with the Arrow McLaren team this week and confirming my place in IndyCar in papaya moving forward,” he said. “This is an unexpected jump, but I’m thrilled to be in this position after a rewarding run in the Indy NXT by Firestone series with HMD Motorsports.

“I am looking forward to this new journey and learning alongside the entire team starting this weekend in my home state.”

David Malukas was initially supposed to occupy the No.6 entry before suffering a pre-season wrist injury, which saw him released after four events. Callum Ilott competed in St. Petersburg, the $1 Million Challenge exhibition and the Indianapolis 500. Pourchaire took the helm for the five other events as part of a deal supposed to cover the rest of the season.

Pourchaire sits 21st in the standings and third in the fight for Rookie of the Year honours despite missing two championship races. His strongest weekend came on the streets of Detroit, where he qualified seventh and finished 10th.

Given his solid start to life in IndyCar and progress weekend to weekend, the loss of Pourchaire’s Arrow McLaren seat comes as a significant surprise. And given he tweeted about how excited he was to race at Laguna Seca on Monday, it may have come as a shock for Pourchaire too.

Siegel will now forgo his sophomore Indy NXT campaign after six rounds. Only last weekend, the 19-year-old American won in the LMP2 class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown’s United Autosports team.

Arrow McLaren will announce the remainder of its 2025 IndyCar lineup in due course, with team principal Gavin Ward’s quote in the team’s release making it apparent that Pourchaire was not guaranteed to be a long-term option. Though he was confirmed for the remainder of the season last month.

“Stability and sustained growth are key to our long-term game plan here, and this is a significant step in that mission,” Ward said. “First, I want to thank Theo for his time filling in on the No.6 car with us in recent weeks.

“We’ve been working through musical chairs all season, and ultimately, making this change to Nolan now that he’s available gives us the chance to build a foundation for the future. He is a young, talented driver with an immense amount of experience at this stage of his career and we’re excited to continue on the upward journey together.”

Siegel has competed in two IndyCar championship events this year, missing the most recent round of the Indy NXT season at Road America to compete with Juncos Hollinger Racing after the late withdrawal of Agustin Canapino from their No.78 Chevy.

He still sat fourth in the Indy NXT championship with one victory and two second-place finishes but will not complete the year.

Siegel had an impressive his rookie Indy NXT season last year, finishing second in his first two races and picking up two wins and a further second-place finish en-route to third in the championship. His rookie victories came back-to-back in Detroit and at Mid-Ohio, with a mechanical failure with two corners remaining denying a sweep of the Detroit doubleheader.

Heading into 2024, Siegel had caught the eye of IndyCar teams. It was decided that another year in Indy NXT would be beneficial but a four-event deal was signed with Dale Coyne Racing for the IndyCar events that did not clash with his Indy NXT commitments.

Siegel made his IndyCar debut in the $1 Million Challenge exhibition, in which he finished a highly creditably seventh in the more difficult of the two heat races. He missed out on transferring to the All-Star Race by less than one second. 

His competitive debut came in the next event on the streets of Long Beach, where he shifted from the No.18 to No.51 Coyne Honda. He qualified at the rear but kept his nose clean all weekend and commendably progressed his way up to a 20th-place finish on the tight streets.

His next outing was an attempt to qualify for his first Indianapolis 500 with Coyne in May, again in place of Jack Harvey in the No.18 entry. But a struggle for speed for the team was compounded by a heavy airborne crash and chassis change for Siegel on Fast Friday.

He had to then build his confidence back up through the qualifying weekend and ultimately had to return on Bump Day for Last Chance Qualifying and missed out on making the field. But valiantly exiting with a crash on the all-or-nothing final run, his reputation was only boosted further if anything.

Interestingly, 2013 Indy 500 winner and Arrow McLaren sporting director Tony Kanaan agreed to mentor Siegel as he attempted to build belief back after his Fast Friday incident.

The credit in the bank for Siegel was further outlined by Juncos’ decision to field Siegel at Road America. Such was the late notice, he had to be pulled out of Indy NXT practice to get fitted into the No.78 Chevy. He was still getting fitted as IndyCar’s opening practice commenced. 

Siegel still qualified 21st in very wet conditions - his first experience of this in an Indy car - on the Elkhart Lake circuit. He was running mid-pack in the race until an issue forced an unplanned pit stop and led to a 23rd-place finish. 

Siegel was penned in to run one more race with Coyne in Toronto but one would imagine Jack Harvey will remain at the wheel of the No.18 Honda instead, adding to a currently 15-race season for the Briton.

Siegel’s competitiveness in his early IndyCar outings has likely played into the decision to make a full-time step up earlier than initially planned. Additionally, given a mechanical issue prevented him from taking the start of the race in Detroit, he has essentially missed two successive Indy NXT rounds and a championship charge is improbable.

While speculative at this stage, Arrow McLaren’s decision to move for his services also comes to fend off competition. Though it is at the expense of another rapidly-developing young driver in Pourchaire off the back of major success in the Formula 1 ladder.

Siegel is unlikely to be able to fight for IndyCar Rookie of the Year with only 10 rounds remaining and loses the chance of full-season rookie status in 2025. But when the opportunity arises to make the dream step to IndyCar, especially with one of its leading operations, it is hard to turn down.


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