Juncos Hollinger Racing (JHR) announced on Tuesday (Oct. 3rd) their plans to form a strategic alliance with the Arrow McLaren IndyCar Team heading into the 2024 NTT IndyCar Series Season.
The two Chevrolet-powered teams “will also consider this alliance as a talent development opportunity,” Tuesday’s statement from JHR reads. “With the potential for engineers, mechanics, and drivers to build their experience. The strategic relationship will be mutually beneficial to extract the strengths of both teams and will be in effect for the 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.”
JHR is fresh off its first full season as a two-car operation in the IndyCar Series after years of experience fielding championship-winning efforts in the Road to Indy ladder. Sophomore driver at Juncos and in IndyCar, Callum Ilott finished twice inside the top five this past season.
Ricardo Juncos has yet to formally announce the driver lineup for their 2024 IndyCar season. Ilott has been rumored to pick up the Papaya colors, however, a clause in the contract leaves Ilott’s driving talents under the right to JHR for the time being.
“Our two teams have a lot of similarities in how we’re attracting partners and building a fanbase,” said co-owner and team president Juncos in their press release. “We’re starting out with a strategic alliance and we’ll see how that may evolve from here.”
The alliance potentially can benefit JHR by keeping both Ilott and 2023 Rookie of the Year driver Agustin Canapino within the organization for next year, as the current Arrow McLaren IndyCar Team has been seeking extra floorspace to operate extra cars under their banner.
Once Andretti Global’s new-scale Headquarters opens, McLaren will move into the current Andretti shop, estimated in 2025, allowing four in-house entries full-time to operate. At their current base, the once-was Schmidt Peterson Motorsports garage, McLaren is running out of room for their current resources to field three full-time entries for Pato O’Ward, Alexander Rossi, and David Malukas, with Kyle Larson’s Indy 500 entry, it’s become a crowded shop in Indianapolis.
Sponsorship is of course not lacking on the vivid-papaya, baby blue, or pitch-back Chevrolets at Arrow McLaren, with more always being welcomed to the family. The addition of the JHR alliance in theory could promote sponsors looking for more air-time to be featured on the No. 77 or No. 78 entries.
As always in motorsports, teams are scrapping to find some company to get them to write a paycheck, and Juncos is well too aware after having to close up IndyCar operations once for the team following the 2019 Indianapolis 500. Since the return at the tail-end of the 2021 season, JHR has been seeking more investors, hence the addition of Brad Hollinger. But still, Illott and Canapino could use a cut of any of the many McLaren family sponsorship dollars to continue their wishes to stay IndyCar drivers.
And of course, the pure advantage of an alliance on track for organizations will likely boil down to sharing resources and data to help promote speed, grip, comfortability, and all other factors to win an IndyCar race, something neither team was able to celebrate this past season.
JHR is stepping up to become more than an underdog. Once a fledgling team, with hardly any hope, and no chance to bump McLaren Racing and Fernando Alonso from qualifying for the Indy 500.