McLaren's Fernando Alonso will miss next month's Formula One Monaco Grand Prix to race for the outfit in the Indianapolis 500, it was confirmed on Wednesday.
Both races take place on May 28th and McLaren - whose fortunes have plummeted in F1 - "will enter a single car in the 101st Indianapolis 500," said a team statement.
Button could step in for Alonso
McLaren did not say who will take the two-time world champion's place for the race in Monte Carlo, one of the highlights of the Formula One calendar.
However, his absence sparked speculation that his position could be filled by Britain's Jenson Button, another F1 world champion, who remains under contract in an ambassadorial role with McLaren.
Alonso will drive a Honda-powered Andretti car branded as a McLaren for the Indy 500, one of US motorsport's most prestigious races, and has insisted Monaco was the only grand prix he planned to miss this season.
Alonso chasing 'Triple Crown'
The 2005 and 2006 Formula One champion said he wanted to compete in the Indy 500 to have a chance of fulfilling a career ambition of completing motorsport's 'Triple Crown' in winning the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indy 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The only driver to achieve the feat was the late Graham Hill, with the British driver, like Alonso, a double Formula One world champion.
"It's a tough challenge but I'm up for it. I don't know when I'm going to race at Le Mans, but one day I intend to. I'm only 35: I've got plenty of time for that," he said.
- United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland