F2 champion Pourchaire to stand in for Malukas at Long Beach

Reigning Formula 2 champion Theo Pourchaire will make his NTT IndyCar Series debut this weekend at Long Beach with Arrow McLaren as the latest stand-in for the injured David Malukas.

“This is an amazing opportunity to drive with such a legendary team in a legendary motorsport series like the NTT IndyCar Series,” Pourchaire said. “I’ve watched IndyCar since I was a young kid, and the racing is incredible. I was thrilled to get the call from the team. I’m grateful [they] thought of me for this opportunity and for the team at Sauber to allow me to get on track at Long Beach. I am also sorry that the opportunity came as David continues to recover. It’s not going to be an easy task, but I’m ready for it.”

Although a six-week recovery window was expected to have Malukas ready to race at Long Beach, the healing process has not gone as swiftly as desired following the February 13 surgery he underwent to repair wrist and hand damage suffered in a biking accident. Malukas’s return is being evaluated on a race-by-race basis.


Former Juncos Hollinger Racing driver Callum Ilott has covered all of the tests and races in the No. 6 since Malukas was hurt, but with an FIA World Endurance Championship conflict taking priority over Long Beach, Arrow McLaren brought Pourchaire in as a fallback plan if Malukas was unable to drive on the legendary Southern California street course.

The Frenchman is set to wield the No. 6 Chevy and join Pato O’Ward and Alexander Rossi in his first big opportunity since clinching the title in Formula 1’s top development series. Despite winning the 2023 F2 crown, the 20-year-old has followed a familiar path as no opportunities to race in F1 followed his achievement.

Signed as a test and reserve driver for Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber, Pourchaire’s main program is Japan’s Super Formula series, where he’s signed to compete in the nine-race championship for Itochu Enex Team Impul. With back-to-back IndyCar events as the series heads straight to Alabama for the April 26-28 Barber Motorsports Park race, Arrow McLaren could have a need to retain Pourchaire for his second consecutive outing, or bring in Ilott, if Malukas is unable drive.

“It’s a shame that David’s recovery is longer than we all originally anticipated,” said team principal Gavin Ward. “He’s been working with our team trainer very closely with what rehab and strength exercises are possible at this point, and the team’s been doing a great job in the meantime to work together through the changes they’ve had since his injury.

“Theo may be an unexpected driver in the NTT IndyCar Series paddock this season, but we’re excited to see what he can do on the track in Long Beach and are thankful for Sauber in working with us to make it happen. He has a strong résumé, especially for his young age, and he’s eager to work with us and put his driving to the test this weekend.”

Story originally appeared on Racer