Larson wants to “feel I’m prepared enough to win” in 2024 Indy 500 debut with McLaren · RaceFans

Kyle Larson paid a visit to the McLaren team he will race for the 2024 Indianapolis 500 during today’s practice session for this year’s race.

The 2021 NASCAR Cup champion said he’s eager to learn as much as he can ahead of his debut in the race next year.

“It’s obviously very exciting,” he said. “It’s been something that I’ve wanted to do for a very long time.

“I wanted to be patient and wait for the timing to feel right. Having Hendrick Motorsports be extremely supportive of it and supporting the efforts with Arrow McLaren is something that I’m extremely excited about.”

Larson already has experienced of the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval from NASCAR’s visits to the circuit. “I’ve obviously come here a lot in a stock car, I lived in the area for a couple of years. So this this place for a long time felt like home or a second home to me.

“In my opinion this is the biggest race in the world. You want to be a part of the big ones and hopefully someday you’ll be a winner of a big event.”

He spent six years driving for Ganassi in NASCAR but never sought an opportunity to drive for their IndyCar team before being fired by them during the 2020 season.

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“When I was with Chip Ganassi Racing in the NASCAR stuff I think a lot of people – and maybe myself at times – thought that I would go immediately and try and compete in Indy 500 for Chip. But I wasn’t as accomplished yet in the NASCAR stuff and I wanted to be able to not feel like I was taking a ton away from that.

“Now I’ve been able to accomplish a lot in the NASCAR stuff, Hendrick is obviously always a consistent front-runner, so I felt like you could take a little bit of focus away from that to run the Indy 500.”

He said he is serious about competing at the front in his one-off appearance next year. “I don’t want to just do this to do it, I want to do it and take it serious and feel like I’m prepared enough to win.

“I feel like I’m surrounded by great people and looking forward to the opportunity. I’ve got 300 and some-odd days left to try and get ready.”

Larson is already familiarising himself with McLaren’s set-up at the circuit this weekend. “I think having this much time, knowing that I’m racing next year, I’m definitely going to pay more attention to all of these days than I would have in the past, kind of see how that all goes just to be really more prepared for how the couple of weeks of on-track time goes for next year,” he said. “Just to not be surprised by anything new.

“It’s been nice even being here in the short amount of time we’ve been here today just to see how they have everything laid out and the hospitality where the team hangs out or eats and the engineering room, stuff like that. I didn’t know any of that before I got here today and this is the only day I’m going to be able to come this year. So even just getting to get eyes on all that will help little things like that for next year.”

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