Theo Pourchaire will make his second IndyCar start for McLaren this weekend following his successful debut at Long Beach.

The reigning Formula 2 champion was drafted in last weekend as a replacement for David Malukas, who has been absent since he injured a wrist in a pre-season accident.

“David Malukas continues to recover from a left wrist injury and surgery,” said McLaren in a statement. “Arrow McLaren will maintain their evaluation of David’s health and will share updates as appropriate.”

Pourchaire qualified 22nd and rose to finish 11th. He took over from Callum Ilott who drove the car at St Petersburg and The Thermal Club, but could not attend last weekend’s race as he was competing in the World Endurance Championship Six Hours of Imola for Jota Porsche.

McLaren team principal Gavin Ward said he was “super-impressed with Theo and with his approach the entire weekend,” in Long Beach. “He kept his nose clean, showed some good pace and learned a lot. The smile and joy is infectious, and it’s hard not to smile thinking about his debut.”

Pourchaire, who is racing in Japan’s Super Formula championship this year and is the reserve driver for Sauber in F1, was thrilled with his performance on his debut. “I was the biggest mover of the race, which is amazing, from 22nd to 11th, super-happy with that,” he said after climbing out of his car.

“I learned much more in the race, it’s crazy. I mean, 85 laps in a row, many pit stops, out-laps, in-laps, saving fuel, overtaking cars. And I enjoyed it because the performance was great.

It’s pure racing, IndyCar, I love it. Physically it’s tough, I’m quite tired right now, but it was a dream come true to do an IndyCar race for me. With McLaren, such a legendary brand and racing team. So I’m quite emotional, but it’s amazing. I don’t realise yet, but I’m super-happy.”

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