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McLaren makes another IndyCar driver change, signs 19-year-old Siegel to multiyear deal

Arrow McLaren makes another IndyCar driver change, signs 19-year-old Nolan Siegel to multiyear deal Article Image 0 Arrow McLaren makes another IndyCar driver change, signs 19-year-old Nolan Siegel to multiyear deal Article Image 0 - The Canadian Press

Arrow McLaren made yet another driver change Tuesday when it signed 19-year-old Nolan Siegel to drive the remainder of the IndyCar season. He will be the third driver to race the No. 6 this year.

Siegel will replace F2 champion Theo Pourchaire beginning this weekend at Laguna Seca in California. Pourchaire on Monday posted on social media: “Man I can’t believe I’m gonna race on the legendary Laguna Seca this weekend.”

McLaren had other plans, particularly after Siegel was part of the LMP2 class-winning team Sunday at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a car co-owned by McLaren CEO Zak Brown. The team already had its eye on the young Californian, who had been running in the Indy NXT feeder series with occasional IndyCar starts.

Siegel will be the youngest driver on the grid. He was born one month after Chip Ganassi Racing rookie Kyffin Simpson.

“I’m looking forward to jumping right in with the Arrow McLaren team this week and confirming my place in the IndyCar Series in papaya moving forward,” Siegel said. “This is an unexpected jump, but I’m thrilled to be in this position. I am looking forward to this new journey and learning alongside the entire team starting this weekend in my home state.”

Siegel had hoped to remain eligible for IndyCar rookie of the year as early as next season, but two weeks ago at Road America he was plucked by Juncos Hollinger Racing to be an emergency replacement for Agustín Canapino. Siegel then decided to skip the Indy NXT race, which took him out of contention for that championship this season and ultimately changed the trajectory of his career.

Once he was out of Indy NXT championship contention, McLaren sporting director Tony Kanaan wanted Siegel driving for McLaren on a multi-year deal. Kanaan worked closely with Siegel on qualifying weekend for the Indianapolis 500, when two crashes kept Siegel out of the 33-car field.

It was on bump day that Kanaan became convinced the young driver is one of IndyCar's future stars.

“I wasn't that mature when I was 19,” Kanaan said.

Arrow McLaren team principal Gavin Ward called Siegel “one of the hottest prospects on the upcoming side for IndyCar and the North American racing scene.”

“I'd be lying if I said we haven't been looking at him for a while,” Ward said. “At the time we put Theo in the car, Nolan was committed to his Indy NXT season. With the clashes there, a full season didn't look like it was in the cards. Road America brought this forward in a hurry.

“We were looking for a 2025 commitment. It became pretty clear that the logical thing to do, although maybe not the easiest decision, was to fast-forward and get him the car as soon as possible. We can hit next year, hit the ground running.”

Siegel in Indy NXT drove for HMD Motorsports, the team owned by the father of David Malukas, who was supposed to be the driver of the No. 6 this season. Malukas was hired last September when two-time IndyCar champion Alex Palou breached his contract with McLaren and decided not to join the team.

But Malukas broke his wrist in a mountain biking accident a month before the season opener and McLaren had a clause in his contract to release Malukas after he missed his fourth race of the season. McLaren instead had used a combination of Pourchaire and Callum Ilott for the first eight events of the season before deciding Pourchaire would finish the year in the car.

Ward thanked Pourchaire and Kanaan said the team would assist the Frenchman any way it can in helping him land another ride. Pourchaire is a Formula 1 reserve driver for Sauber, but could decide to try to race IndyCar instead.

“Stability and sustained growth are key to our long-term game plan here, and this is a significant step in that mission," Ward said. “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.”


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