McLaren’s Fernando Alonso will drive his first practice laps at the Daytona International Speedway this week as he gets ready for his first endurance race.
The Spanish driver debuts in sports car racing when he takes part in the Daytona 24 Hours later this month, as part of his preparations for the Le Mans 24 Hours during the summer.
Alonso was a surprise entrant for the race, as he takes the wheel of a Ligier JSP17, run by McLaren team boss Zak Brown’s United Autosports team. This will be his second appearance at a major US event, having made his Indy 500 debut last season for McLaren.
“It’s a true pleasure to go back racing in the States, in front of the US fans” Alonso said. “In less than a year, I will have competed in two legendary races. This makes me very proud.”
“I have always wanted to challenge myself in other categories of motorsport, as this is what you need to become a better driver. Going out of my comfort zone by taking part in such an iconic race as the Daytona 24 Hours is just amazing.”
With Alonso’s career up until now consisting entirely of single seaters, this event will be the first time that Alonso shares a cockpit with other drivers – he teams up with McLaren reserve driver Lando Norris, as well as Phil Hanson.
Other familiar faces for Alonso in the field are Paul Di Resta, as well as Bruno Senna & Lance Stroll. The Williams driver takes part, racing for Jackie Chan’s DC team.
Practice for the event begins on Friday.
Media day at @DISupdates @Rolex24Hours .#daytona24 #test #unitedautosports pic.twitter.com/NRkk99Vu1w
— Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) January 4, 2018
Team #Daytona24. 🙌 #Roar24 pic.twitter.com/mfh3seBLmb
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) January 4, 2018