New Kyle Larson teammate linked to open seat for 2024

Callum Ilott is rumored to be on his way to being confirmed as Arrow McLaren's replacement for David Malukas for this year's Indy 500.
Kyle Larson, Arrow McLaren-Hendrick Motorsports, Indy 500, IndyCar
Kyle Larson, Arrow McLaren-Hendrick Motorsports, Indy 500, IndyCar / Sean Gardner/GettyImages

Arrow McLaren made the decision to release David Malukas from his IndyCar contract after he missed the first four races of the 2024 season, even though one of them was an exhibition race.

Malukas had been sidelined from competition since before the season started due to a wrist injury he suffered in an offseason mountain biking accident, and his recovery was taking longer than expected.

Even if he had been retained by the team, he likely would not have been able to compete in the 108th running of the Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway later this month.

Arrow McLaren have called upon two replacement drivers to fill in behind the wheel of the No. 6 Chevrolet so far in 2024.

Callum Ilott joined full-time drivers Pato O'Ward and Alexander Rossi in the season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg and in the exhibition race at the Thermal Club while Theo Pourchaire made the first two starts of his IndyCar career on the streets of Long Beach, California and at Barber Motorsports Park. Both drivers recorded top finishes of 11th place.

Who the team will opt to add to their lineup for the Indy 500 has been the subject of speculation in the days following Malukas' release.

Callum Ilott linked to Indy 500 return

That driver is set to become one of four drivers, not just three, in the organization's lineup, as they have also added the No. 17 Chevrolet for 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson as he attempts to complete the Memorial Day Double for the first time. He is also set to return in 2025, when the No. 6 Chevrolet should presumably have a new full-time driver.

Ilott had been seen as the frontrunner over Pourchaire due to his past oval experience, as he competed full-time in IndyCar in 2022 and 2023. He also took part in last month's open test at Indianapolis, driving alongside O'Ward, Rossi, and Larson in place of Malukas.

The 25-year-old Briton was also believed to be Arrow McLaren's top choice to replace Felix Rosenqvist behind the wheel of the No. 6 Chevrolet once it was made clear that Alex Palou would not be available, but he was not released by Juncos Hollinger Racing until after Arrow McLaren had signed Malukas from Dale Coyne Racing.

A "wild card" candidate really wasn't an option at this stage in the game, and Tony Kanaan, who now holds an advisory role with the team, has long been determined to make his 2023 "last lap" tour indeed his last.

Formal confirmation has not been made regarding the driver of the No. 6 Chevrolet, but all signs point to Ilott getting the nod.

Following confirmation that Abel Motorsports will not field the No. 50 Chevrolet for R.C. Enerson this year after doing so last year, the Indy 500 entry list became set at 34 entries. In this year's Indy 500 media guide, there are profiles for the 33 confirmed drivers.

The 34th profile is for Ilott, not Pourchaire or anybody else.

Ilott has two Indy 500 starts to his name, and he led five laps around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) Speedway, Indiana oval last year after starting in 27th place. He finished in 12th, just three spots shy of his best career oval finish of ninth at Texas Motor Speedway earlier in the year.

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With Indy 500 practice scheduled to begin on Tuesday, May 14 and qualifying scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19, expect formal confirmation of Ilott's addition to Arrow McLaren's lineup to be made in due course. The 108th running of the Indy 500 itself is set to be broadcast live on NBC beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET on Sunday, May 26.