Arrow McLaren SP - 2022 Alabama Grand Prix Winner - O'Ward
- Scale guide
Driven by returning drivers Pato O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist, and by Juan Pablo Montaya on a part-time basis for the GMR Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500, the Dallara IR-12 with Dallara IR-18 Aero Kit was Arrow McLaren SP’s competitor for the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The 2022 season would see O’Ward claim two victories in Alabama and Iowa, as well as two further podiums, while Rosenqvist achieved an additional podium in Toronto. O'Ward and Rosenqvist would finish second and fourth in the Indianapolis 500, the team's best finish at Indianapolis, and claimed seventh and eighth in the Drivers’ Championship respectively.
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES allows manufacturers to develop different types of engines, while every team uses the same chassis. Since the 2018 season until the end of the 2023 season, this has been the Dallara IR-12 chassis with IR-18 Aero Kit, whilst Honda and Chevrolet have provided the teams with different engines. Commonly referred to as the 'IR-18', the IR-12’s IR-18 Aero Kit was inspired by CART's 1990s and 2000s designs, but with a more streamlined appearance to reduce both aerodynamic downforce and team and manufacturer design development costs. The Aero Kit has fewer small aerodynamic pieces that can become broken or dislodged, with the intent to reduce the quantity of debris that ends up on the track, and is most notably lacking wheel guards, which were deemed to be a particular issue. The cockpit protection system, a combination of the Halo mandated in Formula 1 and a reinforced windscreen dubbed the “aeroscreen”, provided by Red Bull Advanced Technologies, was added in time for the 2020 season, to lessen the probability of traumatic head injuries from flying debris.
This fine model of the Dallara IR-12 with Dallara IR-18 Aero Kit is a 1:8 scale replica of the #5 Arrow McLaren SP car raced to victory by Pato O’Ward in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on the 1st of May 2022. O'Ward qualified second, his teammate Rosenquist sixth. The race, which took place in dry, sunny conditions after morning thunderstorms, unfolded initially as a strategic duel between drivers who chose a three-stop strategy and those who opted for two stops. However, that strategy unravelled when rookie Callum Ilott spun his No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet into the gravel trap adjacent to Turn 9 on Lap 32. That incident triggered the only full-course caution of the race and essentially returned the entire 26-car field to the same tire strategy. Nearly every driver pitted either just before or after Ilott’s incident and, following the restart on Lap 35, O’Ward remained second behind SONAX Chevrolet’s Rinus VeeKay and Rosnequist had dropped to eighth position. Dutch driver VeeKay managed to extend his lead to 2.0875 seconds over O’Ward by Lap 60 before pulling in for his final pit stop on lap 62, O’Ward following him in for fresh tyres. VeeKay was first to leave the pit lane but O’Ward pounced on the out lap; the Mexican racer passed VeeKay with a brave outside move in the hairpin Turn 5, before pulling ahead. The danger was far from over, however, as reigning champion Alex Palou produced sizzling in and out laps in the #10 The American Legion Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, and re-entered ahead of VeeKay in second. Palou kept O’Ward on his toes until the chequered flag, pulling to within 8951 of a second on Lap 73. O’Ward held off the threat though, taking victory by 0.98 seconds, sealing his and Arrow McLaren SP’s first win of the season. It was also Pato's third career victory. Sadly, for his teammate Rosenquist, a slight miscalculation in fuel meant he was forced to focus on efficiency rather than racing, and he dropped to sixteenth position by the end of the race.
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