Zak Brown believes it is “highly unlikely” McLaren will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship at the start of the new premier class regulation cycle in 2020 as the team instead focuses on improving its fortunes in Formula 1.

McLaren Racing CEO Brown announced on Friday that plans for a potential full-season IndyCar programme for 2019 had been shelved, citing the need to put full focus on F1 after a difficult season that has seen it remain mired in the midfield.

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As well as evaluating an IndyCar entry to expand its racing interests beyond F1, McLaren has also been considering a move into the WEC and a possible return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which it won in 1995.

McLaren officials have been present at meetings with the ACO and WEC to form the new hypercar-led regulations that will replace LMP1 as the top class for the 2020/21 season.

While Brown confirmed McLaren was “very much” still part of these discussions, when asked by Crash.net about plans for a WEC entry in 2020, he said it was unlikely to happen.

“I don’t think we would be ready for the first year of the new championship,” Brown said.

“It is under review. The rules have not been finalised. We have a sense of what they are and we are very engaged.

“We have a working group inside McLaren that are not on our Formula 1 activities reviewing it, and I believe the rules are going to be put in place by the end of the year.

“Then we’ll be in a position to take a decision if we’re going to enter and when we would enter.

“But highly unlikely it would be for the start of the 2020 calendar.”

McLaren currently sits sixth in the F1 constructors’ championship ahead of Sunday’s United States Grand Prix, and has not won a race since 2012, with its podium drought dating back to early 2014.

This poor form has led to a number of shake-ups at the team, including the arrival of two-time CART champion and 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran in the role of sporting director.

Brown expressed his confidence that as McLaren continues to evaluate moving into various championships in the future, the wide-ranging experienced de Ferran can bring will be crucial to its decision making.

“Gil has great experience in IndyCar, sports cars, and Formula 1, so when we brought him on board, there was a variety of skill sets that we know are inside his brain,” Brown said.

“But the immediate right now is Formula 1. So on IndyCar, of course, we speak about it, and speak about all different forms of racing, but really we needed to first see if we can get ourselves in a situation where it makes sense to go.

“I don’t want to distract Gil too much from what he’s been brought in to do which is to help turn our Formula 1 team around.

“I’ve no doubt that when and if we get into IndyCar or other forms of motor racing, Gil’s going to have quite a broad skill set and awareness that of course we will tap into.”

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