McLaren driver Fernando Alonso made a big impression in the Indianapolis 500 this year. Now, he has set his sights on the Daytona 24 Hours sportscar race in January. This could be part of a later attempt to win the Le Mans 24 Hours. The double Formula One world champion signed on for another year at McLaren yesterday. He told reporters at the U.S. Grand Prix that Daytona was under consideration.
Alonso said “The first priority was to finalise the F1 deal and now that is done. I will look at the other options. For the Indy 500 it was a nice experience, I felt very competitive but it was a big challenge that I took from zero, from no testing, not any similar race before it. If I want to prepare Le Mans, maybe there are other possibilities to prepare Le Mans a little bit better than I prepared the Indy 500.”
McLaren executive director Zak Brown said Alonso’s new multi-year agreement allows him to race in other events. But only if the Formula One team’s activities are not compromised. Alonso missed the Monaco Grand Prix to race at Indianapolis this year. But that was fully sanctioned by the team and Honda because of their dismal performance in the Formula One championship.
McLaren expect to be much more competitive next season with a switch to Renault engines but Le Mans would still be a possibility because that endurance classic does not clash with any grand prix.
Brown said “If Fernando wants to do Daytona and we have a seat available, we would put his name on it happily”. Brown’s United Autosports team has an entry to that race.
The American also said “We’ve started joking around about it, and we saw where jokes got us last time”.
Back in April, Alonso said “Zak asked me (about) my ambitions and my plans for the future. So I mentioned the Triple Crown. To be the best driver in the world. I have to either win eight world championships, and have one more than Michael Schumacher, or be winning different series.”
What is the Triple Crown?
The F1 championship, Le Mans and Indy 500 are the 3 parts the Triple Crown. Alternately, the Triple crown is also the Monaco GP and the same two races. British driver Graham Hill is the only driver to have ever achieved this feat. Alonso has won both Monaco and the world championship and led at Indianapolis before his car’s Honda engine expired. The Spaniard said he had not yet spoken to any team about a Le Mans race seat.
“If the opportunity comes, I will try to exploit that opportunity,” he said. “If that is something that makes sense, as we did with the Indy 500, we will try to do it.”