Report: Fernando Alonso Will Enter Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2018
The two-time F1 champ will race with United Autosports in the sports car season opener.
McLaren star driver Fernando Alonso recently expressed his interest in driving at January's Rolex 24 at Daytona, possibly entering with Zak Brown's United Autosports team. This role could open up a transition for Alonso to compete at next summer's 24 Hours of Le Mans, a feat that he has long sought after to compete for motorsport's "Triple Crown". Now, it's been reported by RACER that the Spanish double world champion will indeed enter the Floridian endurance race, paving the way for a hopeful Le Mans debut.
Alonso will compete in his first 24-hour race alongside fellow McLaren driver Lando Norris for United Autosport. The tandem will be racing an LMP2-sourced Ligier with a 4.5L V8 developed by Gibson while former F1 pilot Paul Di Resta will drive the team's sister car. 'Nando hopes that this will help to prepare him for the Le Mans 24 Hour in June where he could potentially drive for Toyota in LMP1.
"As I said many times, the Triple Crown is the main thing," Alonso said at the United States Grand Prix. "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 recently signed a contract extension with McLaren as well, and the Woking-based team has cleared him to compete in other series that do not intersect with his Formula 1 schedule. This is proven as United Autosports owner Zak Brown, also the executive director at McLaren, has encouraged the Spaniard to compete in both IMSA and the WEC.
“We’ve been focused on getting our F1 stuff going, which is coming together,” Brown told Sportscar365. “Then we’ll have a conversation about any extra-circular activity.
“He wants to do Le Mans. Indy’s not possible next year. We’ll focus on getting the F1 done and we’ll see if there’s any other additional events that he has a desire to do and we have a desire to do.”