IndyCar: Possible David Malukas replacement emerges for McLaren

Arrow McLaren must replace the injured David Malukas for at least the 2024 IndyCar season opener. They may have a target in sight.
David Malukas, IndyCar
David Malukas, IndyCar / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

Due to a wrist injury he suffered in a mountain biking accident, Arrow McLaren newcomer David Malukas will not be able to compete in the 2024 IndyCar season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Malukas underwent surgery for torn ligaments in his dislocated left wrist last Tuesday, and his stitches are set to come out this Thursday. However, he is set to need six weeks to recover after that. The season opener is scheduled for Sunday, March 10.

The 17-race season's second race on the streets of Long Beach, California isn't scheduled to take place until Sunday, April 21, so he should be cleared to compete by then. However, the Thermal Club $1 Million Challenge (non-points race) is scheduled to take place on Sunday, March 24 at the Thermal Club, so the 22-year-old is also set to miss that event.

Who will replace David Malukas at Arrow McLaren?

Arrow McLaren have yet to confirm who will pilot the No. 6 Chevrolet in Malukas' absence once the season begins, but Callum Ilott has been confirmed as its driver for Wednesday's portion of this week's testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Ilott had competed for Juncos Hollinger Racing for two-plus seasons until he was replaced by Romain Grosjean after the 2023 season. He does not have a ride for the 2024 IndyCar season, and while he has long been considered the top free agent on the market, he could very well end up without one, so he will be looking to make the most of this opportunity.

Ironically, Arrow McLaren could end up replacing Malukas -- even if for only two races -- before Dale Coyne Racing, his former team.

Malukas spent the first two seasons of his IndyCar career behind the wheel of the No. 18 Honda through a partnership with his father's HMD Motorsports team, and Dale Coyne's team have yet to confirm his replacement for the 2024 season. Ilott finished the 2023 season with exactly one more point than Malukas.

Ilott had been viewed as one of the potential candidates to replace the Meyer Shank Racing-bound Felix Rosenqvist behind the wheel of Arrow McLaren's No. 6 Chevrolet, and while he did not land the ride full-time, he could position himself to open up the season in the car with a strong test later this week.

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A strong showing could open up further opportunities down the road as he seeks to make a full-time return to the sport.