Fernando Alonso will return to the Indianapolis 500 this year after securing an agreement with Arrow McLaren SP to fill the team’s third car for the iconic event.

The two-time Formula 1 world champion will make his third appearance at the Indy 500, despite failing to qualify 12 months ago with McLaren Racing, as he continues to target the Triple Crown having already claimed both the Monaco Grand Prix and Le Mans 24 Hours crowns.

Alonso is currently out of action following the completion of his time racing for Toyota in the World Endurance Championship and last month finished in 13th place on his debut at the Dakar Rally.

With his focus fixed on becoming the second driver in history to secure the Triple Crown, following in the footsteps of Graham Hill, Alonso is relishing his return to the Indy 500 with McLaren.

The Spaniard was reportedly vetoed from taking the Andretti slot by the team’s engine supplier Honda given their public falling out in F1, with ex-Arrow SP driver James Hinchcliffe taking the spot for 2020.

“I am a racer and the Indy 500 is the greatest race in the world. I love the incredible fans who make it so special for all of us drivers and make me want to come back,” Alonso said. “I have maximum respect for this race and everyone who competes in it and all I want to do is race against them and give my best, as always.

“It was important for me to explore my options for this race but Arrow McLaren SP has always been at the top. I have a special relationship with McLaren; we’ve been through a lot together and that creates a bond, a loyalty that is strong.

“But more than that, I am impressed with how the new organisation and operation is developing into a strong package with the Chevrolet partnership. The team has experienced, well-qualified people and great resources, and I’m confident we can be competitive.”

Alonso’s entry gains title sponsorship backing from Ruoff Mortgage and McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown is naturally thrilled to retain ties to the Spanish driver.

“We’ve always said we’re open to running Fernando in a third car for the 500, so we’re delighted he’s decided to join us,” Brown said. “Fernando is one of the greatest drivers in the sport and it’s fantastic to have him as part of the team.

“It’s a fine way to contest our first Indy 500 as Arrow McLaren SP and to have Ruoff Mortgage backing Fernando is a perfect partnership.”

McLaren is running a full IndyCar Series campaign for 2020 with Arrows McLaren SP and has signed young driver duo Patricio O’Ward and Oliver Askew to contest the 2020 season.