Fernando Alonso is set to make his Daytona 24 Hours debut in January next year with Zak Brown’s United Autosports team, sharing a car with McLaren’s young sensation Lando Norris.
Racer report that the Spaniard will do the race, confirming speculation that arose shortly after Alonso extended his deal to race with McLaren in Formula 1 next year.
Insiders say Alonso is keen to do the iconic endurance race in Florida as part of preparations for a Le Mans foray later this year.
Although there is no deal in place for Alonso to race at Le Mans on 16-17 June, it is expected that McLaren would allow him to take part in next year’s 24 hours race should an approach be made.
Toyota are said to be interested in including Alonso to their 2018 Le Mans driver line-up, which would suit his quest for the sport’s prestigious but elusive Triple Crown.
The legendary endurance race takes place on the weekend between the Canadian Grand Prix and the French Grand Prix.
In Austin, Alonso told reporters, “As I said many times, the Triple Crown is the main thing. 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,” added the double F1 World Champion.
Meanwhile for the Daytona 24 Hours, Alonso and Norris will to be partnered by Phil Hanson in a United Autosports Ligier JS P217, with Paul di Resta confirmed to drive the sister car with Will Owen and yet to be announced co-drivers.