McLaren cares so much about appearance that the team missed track time before its bungled 2019 Indianapolis 500 attempt because the car's paint scheme didn't precisely match its signature papaya orange shade.
And yet despite such particular tastes, McLaren has opened its design process to outsiders.
The team collaborated with high-end streetwear brand Undefeated for the Indianapolis 500 car that Felix Rosenqvist will be driving Tuesday for Arrow McLaren SP when preparations begin at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
McLaren only returned full-time to IndyCar for the first time since 1979 last season in a piggyback deal with Arrow Schmidt Peterson, an existing team that sometimes challenged for wins but was hardly a consistent contender.
This rebranded bunch, with a new lineup and new look, has taken huge leaps since McLaren came aboard. AMSP is legit on the track and has the buzz to reach a wider audience while showing an edgier side.
The targeted new audience sits at the intersection of lifestyle and sports. The collaboration with Undefeated, a popular L.A.-based designer in sneaker and streetwear culture, might seem out there for the McLaren of old, but this new team is willing to aim for a younger, hotter demographic.
Undefeated co-founder James Bond had little familiarity with motorsports beyond the Netflix “Drive To Survive” docuseries that features the McLaren Formula One team. McLaren gave Undefeated's team almost no guidelines for the AMSP Indy 500 car.
“We wanted something that made the car while sitting stagnant to look fast, we wanted to feel very much something of movement,” Bond said. Beyond the color palette, though, there were no rules from McLaren, which incorporated Undefeated's signature camo tiger pattern into the car design.