McLaren will return to the Indianapolis 500 on May 28 after a 38-year absence, with Fernando Alonso missing the Monaco Grand Prix as he bids for the Triple Crown.
McLaren sensationally confirmed their entry via their official website and will be using a single car which will be powered by a Honda 2.2-litre twin-turbo V6, limited by IndyCar regulations to 12,000rpm.
“I’m immensely excited that I’ll be racing in this year’s Indy 500, with McLaren, Honda and Andretti Autosport," said Alonso.
“The Indy 500 is one of the most famous races on the global motorsport calendar, rivalled only by the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Monaco Grand Prix [which Fernando has won twice, one of those victories at the wheel of a McLaren (in 2007)], and it’s of course a regret of mine that I won’t be able to race at Monaco this year."
McLaren revealed that they will announce Alonso's replacement for Monaco "in due course", but the Spaniard said that will be the only race on the calendar he will miss this year,
He added: "But Monaco will be the only 2017 Grand Prix I’ll be missing, and I’ll be back in the cockpit of the McLaren-Honda MCL32 for the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal in early June.
“I’ve never raced an IndyCar car before, and neither have I ever driven on a super-speedway, but I’m confident that I’ll get to grips with it fast. I’ve watched a lot of IndyCar action on TV and online, and it’s clear that great precision is required to race in close proximity with other cars on the far side of 220mph [354km/h].
"I realise I’ll be on a steep learning curve, but I’ll be flying to Indianapolis from Barcelona immediately after the Spanish Grand Prix, practising our McLaren-Honda-Andretti car at Indy from May 15th onwards, hopefully clocking up a large number of miles every day, and I know how good the Andretti Autosport guys are.
"I’ll be proud to race with them, and I intend to mine their knowledge and expertise for as much info as I possibly can.
Alonso firmly has his sights set on the prestigious Triple Crown and will hope to follow in the footsteps of Graham Hill.
He said: “I’ve won the Monaco Grand Prix twice, and it’s one of my ambitions to win the Triple Crown [the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hours], which has been achieved by only one driver in the history of motorsport: Graham Hill.
"It’s a tough challenge, but I’m up for it. I don’t know when I’m going to race at Le Mans, but one day I intend to. I’m only 35: I’ve got plenty of time for that.”