Pourchaire lands second Indycar drive with McLaren at Barber

Pourchaire lands second Indycar drive with McLaren at Barber

Theo Pourchaire will continue driving for Arrow McLaren at the next IndyCar race at Barber Motorsports Park, the team announced on Tuesday.

Theo Pourchaire has secured his second IndyCar drive with the Arrow McLaren team at Barber Motorsports Park this weekend after making a spectacular debut at Long Beach, where he started 22nd and finished an impressive 11th.

The reigning Formula 2 champion was called in last weekend to replace David Malukas, who has been sidelined after suffering a wrist injury in a preseason crash.

The Frenchman replaced Callum Ilott, who was in charge of the car in St Petersburg and The Thermal Club. However, Ilott was racing for Jota Porsche in the World Endurance Championship Six Hours of Imola last weekend, therefore he was unavailable for the race.

Pourchaire, who also serves as Sauber Formula 1 team’s test and reserve driver, emerged as the biggest mover at the 1.968-mile, 11-turn street circuit on Sunday.

He had earlier disclosed that he had a contract “to drive for the next two races, to replace David,” but he added that Malukas’s fitness would determine whether or not he could participate in the Barber Motorsports Park round.

However, it was revealed over the weekend that Malukas still had pins in his wrist following surgery; and are set to be removed on Wednesday, therefore the 20-year old will continue serving as his replacement.

In an interview shortly after the 85-lap Long Beach race concluded, Pourchaire was beaming as he tried his best to conceal all he endured during his IndyCar debut.

He will encounter a far harder problem delivering maximum effort to the wheel of his car through every lap at Barber, which is one of the two most physically demanding tracks on the calendar.

“Looking at me now, my shoulders are hurting a lot, to be honest,” he told RACER. “I don’t want to move too much. You know, I feel okay.

“I’m quite surprised. It was really tough physically, but I was also prepared; I have a reserve role in Formula 1 as well, so I have to be ready at any time.

“IndyCar is a little bit more special because we don’t have any power steering and bumpy tracks like Long Beach makes it really difficult. But you know, I was prepared.

“I struggled a little bit, I have to be honest, but I will be more prepared for the future if I have another opportunity.”

Given Pourchaire’s impressive performance and praise from Arrow McLaren team principal Gavin Ward, it wasn’t surprising that he was given the opportunity to continue participating in IndyCar races.

“We dropped Theo in about as much in the deep end as he could be dropped,” Ward said. “We had high hopes and I love the way he’s approached the weekend.

“He just got built up to it. He’s completed every lap and just got better and better. Really, really impressive debut. The enthusiasm is infectious. You could hear it on the radio.

“He was enjoying himself out there and that’s fun. He’s just been super happy to be in IndyCar and make the most of this opportunity, so that makes everybody smile.”

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