McLaren IndyCar driver
Patricio O’Ward is driver for Arrow McLaren SP in IndyCar and the latest Ask a Pro. The 22-year-old started off in karts in 2005 before going on to race in the Latam Fórmula 2000 championship in Latin America and the French F4 championship.
In 2017 he made the jump to Indy Lights and in his second season he won the championship with Andretti Autosport in 2018. He made his IndyCar debut with Harding Steinbrenner Racing at the end of 2018, before joining for half the season with Carlin in 2019. Alongside his IndyCar commitments, he raced in Super Formula in Japan and raced in a one-off round in the FIA Formula 2 Championship at the Red Bull Ring after signing as a Red Bull Junior Driver.
In 2020 he joined Arrow McLaren SP and achieved a top three finish in the championship in 2021, which earned him a test drive of their Formula One car at the end-of-season rookie test at Abu Dhabi. For the 2022 season he continues to race for Arrow McLaren SP alongside LMP2 team Dragon Motorsport in the IMSA SportsCar Championship.
Patricio O’Ward answers your questions!
Congrats on the win at Daytona earlier this year! Do you think you will ever try racing in the famous Le Mans 24 hours race?
Thank you! Of course I would love to, it’s such a historic and special event that I would love to be a part of and ultimately, try and win it.
How difficult is it for your mind to adjust to the speeds you travel? Is regular driving like slow motion? How do you train your vision?
I think what makes it the most challenging, is trying to adjust your eye sight. I think the mind can switch from one thing to another quite quickly. What you have to adjust to is a bigger or faster track, or car, the eye sight is something that you need to adjust.
What is your weekly and daily fitness regime during the season?
I enjoy a variety of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts and boxing.
How do you get over a bad result on track?
Turn the page and look to what is coming next.
When you tested with McLaren at the Abu Dhabi rookie test, what was the main difference between the F1 car and the IndyCar?
The stopping capabilities and the amount of downforce that the car creates. It allows you to go very fast through the high-speed corners.
Having raced in both Indy Lights and Formula 2, what is the hardest part of each series and the main similarities?
I think the hardest thing in Formula 2 was just getting a grip on the tire that the car uses beause it’s different than anything else I’ve ever driven. In Indy Lights, I think the challenges it throws at you is the many different disciplines that you have to perfect in order to win a championship (oval, road course, street course). But you then use those when you get to IndyCar.
What is the one important thing you took away from each of the junior single seater championships you raced in?
To treat every new car as a new race car. Whenever you are a kid, you drive so many different series of cars, that then helps you move onto the bigger and badder ones when the time comes. That experience is important.
When visiting a new track or a circuit you’ve raced on previously, how much do you race on the sim prior to the race weekend? How important is the sim for understanding a circuit?
I think the sim is very useful for learning lines and reference points for braking. But once you get to the track, that’s when you see what it’s all about in terms of bumps and the track surfaces at different corners.
What has been your favourite or best race you’ve had in the rain?
I think it was probably Barber Motorsports Park in Indy Lights in 2018. It was a very enjoyable, fun race where I was so far ahead where I was kind of racing myself. Every race was testing the limits of the car. I had some really good ones in karting as well, starting from the back.