Race Weekend Central

Theo Pourchaire Scores Career-Best Qualifying Position of 7th in Detroit

DETROIT, Mich. — Defending Formula 2 champion Theo Pourchaire will start seventh in Sunday’s (June 2) Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, his best starting position so far in NTT IndyCar Series competition.

The Frenchman turned a lap of 1:00.7342 to average 97.507 mph around the nine-turn, 1.645-mile street circuit in the No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet.

Pourchaire was fastest in the first group of round one of qualifying with a lap of 1:00.7000, advancing to round two at the head of his group. In the second round of qualifying, Pourchaire’s best lap was 0.0287 seconds slower than that of Josef Newgarden which gave last week’s Indianapolis 500 winner the sixth-fastest lap in the group and admission to the Firestone Fast Six.

“With one more lap I would’ve been in the Fast Six,” Pourchaire told Frontstretch.

“But you know, it was tough to get one more lap with our position in the pit lane and the short track makes it really complicated to manage the traffic. It’s the way it is, P7 is good, it’s my best result, but we know we can go forward tomorrow.”

Arrow McLaren inserted Pourchaire into the No. 6 ride as a substitute for David Malukas while the American recovered from an off-season wrist injury. Malukas’ recovery took much longer than expected, so the team released him from his contract in April and later announced Pourchaire as the replacement driver in May.

Pourchaire made his debut in Long Beach and impressed the crowd and paddock alike en route to an 11th-place result. Finishes of 22nd and 18th followed at Barber and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, respectively.

Sunday will be Pourchaire’s fourth IndyCar race and the 2020 FIA Formula 3 championship runner-up is acclimating well to his new environment.

“It feels a lot better to be able to fight at the front of the field and P7 is a good result,” Pourchaire said. “I hope tomorrow I can fight with the fastest guys and follow them at the beginning because I think it’s tough to overtake on that track.

“I feel confident, I feel much, much more confident compared to Long Beach, for sure. It was my first race and I had zero experience in IndyCar, so right now I feel better and better for sure.”

See also
Colton Herta Takes Pole in Tense Detroit Qualifying Session

Pourchaire was out of the car for the Indy 500, where Callum Ilott took the reins, but will be piloting the No. 6 Chevrolet for the rest of the season up to the finale at the Nashville Superspeedway.

Speaking with Frontstretch before the 500, Pourchaire was enthusiastic about his future with Arrow McLaren.

“I’m so happy to have this opportunity, to be able to drive an IndyCar, which is in my opinion one of the best motorsport series in the world” he said. “I’m really looking forward to being in Detroit next Friday. I’m counting down the days, I’m ready. I’m ready to get back in the car!”

Entering Sunday’s race as the highest-starting Arrow McLaren driver, it looks as though Pourchaire’s enthusiasm was both well-placed and well-earned.

About the author


Christopher DeHarde has covered IndyCar racing and the Road to Indy for various outlets since 2014. In addition to open wheel racing, DeHarde has also covered IMSA and various short track racing events around Indiana. Originally from New Orleans, DeHarde moved to the Indianapolis area in 2017 to further pursue a career as a motorsports writer.

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