Alonso: 'Daytona better F1 preparation than going to the gym!'

Alonso readies for Daytona, eyes Le Mans

Fernando Alonso will enter this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans and select rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship with Toyota after being given permission by McLaren to dovetail his Formula 1 commitments with sports vehicle racing duties.

Alonso linked up with United Autosports, the team co-chaired by McLaren boss Zak Brown, for the 24-hour race, joining up with McLaren reserve driver and F2 rookie Lando Norris and Phil Hanson.

The #23 United Ligier led a total of eight laps during the race before the first of its brake issues as varying pitstop strategies played out at the front. "Luckily you have a short cut".

"I have a positive feeling about this weekend's race and the whole event, I really did enjoy this a lot", said Alonso.

Alonso said it was "60:40" whether he did Le Mans this year, adding: "I don't have any deadline". But it's not only on my side, the decision.

"F1 is my first and only priority".

Alonso has long held a desire to race at Le Mans as part of his bid to become just the second driver in history to complete the "triple crown of motorsport" by taking victories at Le Mans, the Indianapolis 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix. "As I said, I experienced things the whole event that was new for me, and next time I jump in a prototype vehicle, closed cockpit, I know what is the feeling".

"As [my sports auto debut] happened here, if and when I will be at Le Mans, it will be the second time at least, so I will be much more prepared". Equally important is the confidence that nothing detracts from our number one goal of Formula 1.




Norris was credited with leading when he brought the vehicle in the pits for the first time to hand over to Hanson in the seventh hour.

All hope of a strong result was lost when Alonso suffered his first brake failure, which consigned the vehicle to the garage for 40 minutes. "In 2018, my aim is to be competitive at every grand prix, and I feel sure that we are closer to achieving that".

As Norris brought the No.23 auto home P13 in class, 90 laps down in total, there was better fortune for the sister United Autosports vehicle (No.32) driven by Will Owen, Hugo de Sadeleer and ex-Formula 1 drivers Paul di Resta and Bruno Senna.

The race was won by the Cadillac of Joao Barbosa, Filipe Albuquerque and former F1 driver Christian Fittipaldi.

Although a drive has yet to be announced, Alonso's participation at Daytona has always been regarded as a precursor to a first assault on the Le Mans 24 Hours this summer.

"At night, obviously you don't clearly see the tyre wall or where the escape road is, so that was even more scary".

"And yeah, instead of being on the bicycle or in the gym, you know, you are driving".

"My deal to race in WEC was only made possible through the good understanding and strong relationship I have with McLaren, and I'm very happy that they listened and understood what this means to me".

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