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Theo Pourchaire

Source: Travis Hinkle/Penske Entertainment / other

SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Just a couple of weeks ago, Theo Pourchaire was expecting to be on the sidelines for most of the racing season as a reserve driver for Sauber’s F1 team.

As the reigning Formula 2 champion, he was looking at developing opportunities in Europe, ideally looking at an eventual spot in the Formula 1 grid. It was understood that he would be racing a full season in Super Formula with Team Impul in Japan.

However, after just one race in Super Formula, things took a slight detour in recent weeks when Pourchaire got a call from Arrow McLaren asking him if he’d be interested in driving in IndyCar. Pourchaire piloted the No. 6 car for the injured David Malukas at Long Beach and finished well.

Now, the No. 6 car is Pourchaire’s for the remainder of the season after Arrow McLaren parted ways with Malukas.

“I’m so happy to be driving more in IndyCar,” Pourchaire said. “I’ve developed a good relationship with the team since I came to Indianapolis.”

Pourchaire has hit the ground running getting acclimated to an IndyCar environment, which means racing on ovals. He had his first oval test at Gateway last week.

“Ovals are crazy! Superfast,” said Pourchaire. “By the end I was tired. It was a bit stressful because I didn’t want to make any mistakes. I can’t wait to do my first oval race.”

Pourchaire will race on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this May, but his first oval race will not be the Indianapolis 500. Since he is still learning the ropes and has not passed a rookie test, Pourchaire’s first oval race will actually be the doubleheader at Iowa Speedway later in the summer.

He is essentially on loan to Arrow McLaren from Sauber. Pourchaire said there is an “agreement” for him to race the full NTT IndyCar Series season. That also may leave the question of where his aspirations for Formula 1.

“I’m not thinking too much right now about F1,” Pourchaire said. “I’m twenty years old and probably have a few more years to look at an opportunity there. For now, I’m focused on my IndyCar career and looking forward to getting a win here. I’m happy to be a professional racing driver for Arrow McLaren.”