IndyCar CEO Mark Miles reacts to McLaren joining the series
The biggest news in IndyCar last week was the addition of a McLaren/SPM partnership fielding two full-time Chevrolets in 2020.
Following a shocking failure to qualifyfor the 103rd running of the Indy 500, it might have come as a surprise to many IndyCar fans that McLaren chose to run full-time but not to CEO Mark Miles. The IndyCar chairman went on record saying he way delighted but not surprised.
"We’re delighted," Miles told NBC Sports. “It’s great. It’s important. I have thought for some time this day would come. It was more of a matter of ‘when,’ then ‘ever.’"
McLaren has had a long and storied history in IndyCar, Formula 1 and sports car racing. With McLaren's IndyCar program being headed up by Zak Brown, Miles is looking forward to working with him and hopes it'll help elevate the already exisitng SPM team.
"McLaren is a great brand in the automotive industry with a great following. They are rich in racing history. Zak Brown, who is leading the charge at the moment, appreciates IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"He is a great promoter in whatever he is involved with. I think it will help bring attention and another level of competitiveness with the Schmidt team. I can’t wait to see them out on the track.”
McLaren has won the Indy 500 twice in 1976 and 1978, they most recently ran the event in 2017 with Fernando Alonso. With SPM moving from Honda to Chevrolet, Miles hopes that the balance between manufacturers will be better than ever.
"I think there is great balance with Chevrolet and Honda in every way between teams and the drivers they each have and great strength,” Miles said. “The McLaren guys compete in Formula One, so they are used to big budgets and doing everything right and I think that is good for the series."
Team Penske, Andretti Autosport and Chip Ganassi Racing are among the super teams in IndyCar, but does McLaren/SPM create a fourth one? Miles seems to think so.
“I think so,” Miles said. “Everybody can score the teams the way they want. I’ve thought Arrow Schmidt Peterson were in the top four all along. This adds strength to them. This makes it more apparent. It’s just terrific."