Tony Kanaan insisted after driving in his final Indianapolis 500 in May that he wasn't done with racing entirely.
Turns out he's not even leaving his team.
Arrow McLaren announced Thursday the creation of a new hybrid role within its racing program for Kanaan, the popular Brazilian who finished 16th in "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" in a fourth car for the team. Kanaan will travel with McLaren to races and tests, mentor drivers and help with commercial partnerships and business interests.
"I'm very excited to join the Arrow McLaren team in this role," said Kanaan, the 2004 series champion and fan favorite whose 2013 victory in the Indy 500 after years of trying remains one of the most poignant in the race's rich history.
Kanaan, who joined Arrow McLaren in November 2022, traveled with the team to most of its races early in the season. And he was intrigued by the vision of McLaren boss Zak Brown and racing director Gavin Ward.
"Zak and Gavin have a great vision for where this team is headed and what we can accomplish, so I look forward to helping us get there and making the team and the series even better," Kanaan said. "This team works hard and has a lot of fun. That's what racing is about, and it's why I love being part of the team."
While the team has yet to win this season heading into this weekend's race at Mid-Ohio, each of McLaren's three full-time drivers -- Pato O'Ward, Alexander Rossi and Felix Rosenqvist -- has been on the podium at least once. O'Ward has three second-place runs along with a third-place finish two weeks ago at Road America and is fourth in the points standings.
"Tony's distinct skill set will help the team connect how we go racing to how we can make the most of our partnerships," Ward said. "As a championship driver, he does both incredibly well -- delivering on track and locking in committed partnerships. He brings a champion mindset to what we're doing, and that's racing to win championships while having fun doing it. Having him on the team as a multifaceted resource in his adviser role is a big win for Arrow McLaren."
Along with helping the team's IndyCar program, Kanaan will be involved with McLaren Racing's heritage program.
"I'm thrilled to have Tony join Arrow McLaren and our McLaren Racing family in a more formalized capacity," Brown said. "Having him around our team and mentoring our drivers can only make us stronger contenders."