Less than a year after competing in the Indy 500, Two-time Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso Has Announced That he Will be Racing In The Rolex 24 at The Daytona International Speedway Next Year With McLaren Team Principal, Zak Brown’s United Autosports.
Alonso, who impressed at the Indianapolis 500 this season, has publicly expressed his desire to win the triple crown of racing, which is winning the Monaco Grand Prix, Indy 500 and the 24 Hours Of Le Mans.
The speedy Spaniard has already covered a third of his goal, winning the Monaco GP twice throughout his career. This year, he set his sights on the Indy 500 and was performing really well before an engine failure meant that he had to retire from the race.
Now, Alonso wants to polish his endurance racing skills so that he can perform well at Le Mans and he sees the 24 Hours Of Daytona as the perfect way to do so.
“As I said many times, the Triple Crown is the main thing,” Alonso said in Austin. “I know that the Indy 500 was a nice thing and I felt very competitive, but it was a big challenge that I took from zero, with no testing and no similar racing experience before the Indy 500 at any other oval, it was a big challenge.
“I was competitive and it felt good but if I want to prepare for Le Mans maybe there are other possibilities to prepare Le Mans a little bit better [than I did for] the Indy 500.”
Alonso, who has recently signed an extension with the McLaren Formula One Team, will race alongside newly crowned European Formula 3 Champion Lando Norris, who is a part of McLaren’s Young Driver Program and Philip Hanson, who raced at the 24 Hours Of Le Mans this year with Tockwith Motorsport.
In the sister car, Paul Di Resta, who himself has previously raced in Formula One teams up with Will Owen. The third driver will be announced after the end of the ELMS season.
Alonso, making his sportscar debut, will be racing the Ligier JSP217 prototype. He will get a taste of the car for the first time in the week leading up to the Formula One season finale at Abu Dhabi.
This is really big news for IMSA as their popularity among Formula One fans is very likely to increase and that could lead to more fans for the series, making it a win-win situation of both, IMSA and Alonso! A similar thing happened when Alonso’s Indy 500 run largely increased the popularity of Indycar with Formula One fans.
The Rolex 24 at Daytona will be contested on the last weekend of January (27-28) and the race, as always, is bound to be a thriller!