Two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso on Thursday confirmed he will compete in next January’s Daytona 24 Hours sportscar race. He will take part in the race as preparation for an eventual tilt at Le Mans. Zak Brown, the executive director of McLaren and the owner of the United Autosports team, announced the move on Thursday. Daytona, in Florida, will be the first time the Spaniard has raced a prototype sports car.
Fernando Alonso, McLaren’s Honda driver, made a big impression this year when he entered the iconic Indianapolis 500 and led for 27 laps. He will race with the United Autosports LMP2 team, driving a Ligier JSP217 car. Alonso is competing in this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix as well.
Alonso, 36, last week agreed on a new contract with McLaren. “The Daytona 24 Hours is the most iconic US endurance race and one of the world's great races," he said.
“It's not part of the Triple Crown (of the Monaco Grand Prix, Indy 500 and Le Mans victories) but, as I have always said, my aim is to be a complete driver -- and this experience will help me in the preparation for any other endurance race I might take part in," he said.
“Before I went to Indy, I had never driven on an oval and now I know what an oval is and how to deal with it. I am excited to go back and race in America. After a great time I had during the month of May, for the Indy 500, I am looking forward to taking part in another legendary race that will bring back all those amazing sensations that US fans gave me,” he added.
He hopes to become the second driver after Briton Graham Hill, to win motorsport’s Triple Crown, i.e., Formula One title or Monaco Grand Prix, Indianapolis and Le Mans.Le Mans which is on June 16 and 17, doesn’t clash with any grand prix – unlike Indianapolis which is on the same weekend as the Monaco race. Alonso will partner British teenagers Lando Norris and Phil Hanson.