The Blair Engine Project
January 16, 2002 | 12:00 A.M. EST
“Considering what Tony George and the Indy Racing League have already contributed to the well-being of the sport, it’s only natural that McLaren Engines now accelerate its return to Indy as an engine source - particularly, with a team with such capability as Blair Racing,” said Hayden Harris, chairman of McLaren and co-owner of Blair Racing. “We very much look to McLaren Engines and Blair Racing as a winning combination.”
McLaren has proved to be a winner in the past, most notably in the Indianapolis 500 with Johnny Rutherford in 1974 and 1976. In 1985, Pancho Carter won the pole for the Indy 500 with a 212.583 mph four-lap average in a car powered by a McLaren engine.
McLaren returns to carry on its winning tradition.
“As the original engine development company for Bruce McLaren Motor Racing, McLaren Engines has enjoyed a long heritage of racing success with General Motors’ powertrains - beginning with our multiple Chevrolet-based, Canadian American Challenge championships, through the front row (pole position) performance of the stock-block Buick V6 at the Indianapolis 500,” said Steven Rossi, president and chief executive officer of McLaren Performance Technologies. “Most recently, our continued involvement with GM Racing led us to LeMans, where we continue to accelerate as the engine development partner for the Cadillac Northstar Prototype racer.”
Larry Blair, co-owner of Blair Racing, expects his McLaren-built Chevrolet to give the first-year team a technical advantage.
“McLaren Performance Technologies is a strategic partner for Blair Racing, and its longstanding, winning tradition will no doubt fortify our position,” Blair said. “Our team is not only proud to be powered by McLaren, but sees the relationship as a true competitive advantage.”
Wiley McCoy, McLaren’s executive vice president and chief operation officer, is the IRL project leader for the Livonia, Mich.-based company, which was established in 1969 as the engine development company for Bruce McLaren Motor Racing.
Blair’s first opportunity to test the new McLaren-built engine is Feb. 6 at the Test in the West at California Speedway.