F2 champion Theo Pourchaire gets another IndyCar race with McLaren as Malukas continues to heal

Theo Pourchaire faces a new challenge following his IndyCar debut — going from the streets of Long Beach to the road course at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.

The 20-year old Frenchman, who is the reigning Formula 2 champion, gets his second turn racing for injured Arrow McLaren driver David Malukas on Sunday. He goes to a different side of the country and a much different course.

“For me, it was something new,” Pourchaire said this week after McLaren said he would race Barber. “It was not easy to learn, but in the end I think I adapted pretty quickly to this championship, to this car, to the team. I still have a lot of things to learn, like for example, this weekend it’s going to be a new race track.

“I will almost start from zero. I have a little bit more experience now, so I feel a bit more confident.”

Pourchaire had never before driven an Indy car until last weekend’s first practice session. He qualified 22nd but finished 11th and was IndyCar’s “biggest mover” at Long Beach, “which is incredible for my first IndyCar race.”

His introduction to the American open-wheel series came with no track time leading up to last Friday’s first practice at Long Beach. He’d been in Indianapolis for a couple of weeks before for a seat-fitting and to get acclimated with the team, and spent one day in the Chevrolet simulator in North Carolina.

Pourchaire is still adapting to aspects of IndyCar like the longer length of the races and different fuel strategies. He expects to need a few laps on the 17-turn, 2.3-mile Barber track to get up to a competitive speed starting with Friday’s first practice session.

“I learned a lot of things” at Long Beach, he said. “How the car behaves on the race track like Long Beach was important for me to discover. But it will be even more important to rediscover the car, I think, in Barber, because the track is completely different.”


Current European Le Mans Series driver Luca Ghiotto will pilot the No. 51 entry for Dale Coyne Racing at Barber and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. The Italian won seven times in Formula 2 and moved to sportscar racing in 2020. He recently served as test and simulator driver for the Nissan Formula E team in 2022-23.

Ghiotto met up with the team in Chicago earlier this week.

“I’ve spent the majority of my career overseas but was always intrigued and wanting to try IndyCar,” he said. “It will be my first time driving this car and my first time at this track, so there’s a steep learning curve and challenge ahead of me but I am very much looking forward to it.”


AP IndyCar: https://apnews.com/hub/indycar

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