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Featured Alonso, United Autosports Team Up for Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Paul Jeffrey, Oct 26, 2017.

  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium

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    Alonso Daytona 24 Hour Debut.jpg
    Fernando Alonso will make his Daytona 24 Hour debut in 2018, having secured a deal with United Autosports for the big American race on January 27th.

    Zak Brown, Executive Director of McLaren Technology Group, and owner of United Autosports was understandably pleased to confirm one of the biggest racing drivers in the world to his endurance team:

    "One thing led to another, I’m not exactly sure who initiated the conversation, but the 24 Hours of Daytona cropped up". “As Fernando does, he kinda chats about things, doesn’t really tell you what he’s thinking and then, out of the blue, he goes: ‘I wanna do it.’ That is exactly what happened.”

    Brown added: “We were in Singapore, and obviously got our F1 deal done, and as soon as we mentally crossed the bridge of getting that sealed, it wasn’t two minutes later before he said, ‘I wanna do Daytona.’ It was really all his decision, you’re not going to talk him into doing something, he decides everything on his own.​

    Alonso is widely known to be keen to try and secure the holy grain of motorsport achievements, the Triple Crown of Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans 24 Hours and Indy 500 victories, and the move towards making his debut in long distance endurance racing as a preparation for an assault on the French 24 Hour classic.

    As I spend more time around him, it’s amazing to see the amount of research he does" Said Brown. "He thinks things through, and clearly wants to win Daytona as part of his quest to win Le Mans. "And when you look at United’s line-up – we’ve got some pretty cool drivers in our cars, including Paul di Resta and Lando. "The aim is definitely to go there with the intention of trying to win Daytona – otherwise Fernando wouldn’t wanna do it!”

    “I think it’s going to be the toughest 24 Hours of Daytona in modern history, based on the quality of the teams and drivers on the entry... “A couple of Penskes, a couple of Joests, Wayne Taylor, Action Express, ESM, Rebellion – going through the list there’s likely 12 cars in with a shot of pole, never mind winning the race. So we’re going to bring our A-game, and it’s going to be awesome".
    For his part Zak Brown is building up quite a formidable team with the United Autosports Ligier JS P217, driving alongside McLaren Formula One junior driver Lando Norris and young prospect Phil Hanson, forming one side of the two car garage alongside Paul di Resta, Will Owen and another yet-to-be-announced driver in the second car.

    Both Alonso and United Autosports are aiming high for Daytona, with nothing less than a victory the target for a team very much on the up in the sportscar racing scene.

    “We did Le Mans this year, finished fourth in class, and fifth overall. Fortunately the P2s are the top class at Daytona [with the DPi category based around them] and I don’t think Fernando would want to drive anything other than the top class car, to go for the overall win.”

    One thing is for sure, with Alonso adding yet more of a spotlight on one of the best racing events in the whole world the eyes of the motorsport community will be firmly targeted on the US this coming January 26th - 27th.

    Not sure what to expect from "the 24"? Catch up on the 2017 running of the event below:



    For more from the world of Grand Prix racing head over to the Formula One sub forum here at RaceDepartment and get involved in this great motorsport community.

    Looking forward to seeing Alonso in endurance racing? Excited to see more of the Spaniard outside of Formula One? Do you think he will be in with a shout of winning the big race? Let us know in the comments section below!
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017
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  2. paracletus

    paracletus

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    Nice one. Top motorsport event of the year.
    Obviously he'll have to cancel it if he's leading the f1 championship next year though.

    Edit: silly me - read that as 24hr le mans for a minute.
     
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  3. Christian Moreau

    Christian Moreau
    The real Canadian Prime Minister Premium

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    The Rolex is in January during the F1 off-season, don't see why he'd miss any races. :O_o:
     
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  4. formidable

    formidable

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    Which engine It Will use that car?
     
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  5. Christian Moreau

    Christian Moreau
    The real Canadian Prime Minister Premium

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    A 4.2L Gibson V8 I believe.
     
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  6. Andrew Harper

    Andrew Harper
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    A very successful sports car team in LMP2 and WEC, ELMS.

    How well they'll go against the factory DPi cars I'm not sure.

    Cadillac did a "Mercedes" and were testing their car a long time before anyone else and as such still have a good advantage over the others. However due to BoP that has been taken away from them to an extent.

    IMSA is probably the top endurance series at the moment and I'm a WEC fan.

    The Petit Le Mans was a great race with tonnes of action. Next year will be I think even better with the Mazda and others.

    I've thought about making the trip to the Rolex 24 a few times but what always puts me off is the weather! Lol. The last few years they've spent so much time running in the wet, fog, hurricanes. It's not always a great event for a spectator. I get wet enough at silverstone. Haha.

    However, This is good news in a way. The Rolex 24 always seems so quiet compared to Sebring (which is definitely one I'm interested in) and with alonso making the trip hopefully it will bring more people in.
     
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  7. MPortnoy

    MPortnoy

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    A Honda engine :D

    Ooops sorry, had to do it :devilish:
     
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  8. Kjell Eilertsen

    Kjell Eilertsen

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    Wrong, it's a GP2 engine... :p

    Bugger I read it as Le Mans as well, mahoosive brain fart!
     
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  9. GTRacer123

    GTRacer123

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    I sense after F1 he'll be driving in WEC or IMSA.
     
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  10. bFaria

    bFaria

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    Very nice. I've competed against Lando randomly on iRacing a few times and the kid is hella fast.
    Hope to see him in F1 soon, so I can tell everyone I've raced with a F1 driver :D
     
  11. Patrick van der Meulen

    Patrick van der Meulen
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    Could it be intended as kind of a training for Le Mans? To get used to the tactics used with endurance and the differences with open wheelers? Would love to see Alonso a couple of years doing either WEC/IMSA/ALMS/ELMS/IndyCar or a combination of them after he ends his F1 career.
     
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  12. dragob

    dragob

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    [​IMG]
     
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  13. Fabian Biehne

    Fabian Biehne
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    Alonso more and more becomes one of my favourite drivers. When he appeared in F1 in 2001 and soon started getting better and better, becoming WC etc I had not much sympathy towards him. However, after seeing how desperate he fought against the Red Bulls/Vettel from 2010 to 2013 and then coming back to McLaren and seeing him fighting there with this miserable Honda engine (even in the Indy 500 ffs)…he got all my sympathy. Hope things will improve next year.
     
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  14. Andrew Harper

    Andrew Harper
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    Yes that's what it seems. He's interested in doing Le Mans but as it would eat into the F1 schedule (like Indy) they've decided that the Rolex 24 (being in January) is a perfect fit.

    Very slight rumours that he may be offered a Toyota drive at Le Mans but that's just rumour I think and in all fairness their driver line up at the moment is pretty solid. Unless they decide to go crazy and run four cars next year.

    I think his biggest hurdle won't be the car but just getting accustomed to running around different classes of car but also level of driver (gold, silver, and bronze level as it's called). Castro-Neves said it took time to adjust and also Rubens at Le Mans said he found it a real challenge after being in single class racing for so long.

    Derek Bell always remarked that he felt that the Rolex 24 was mentally much tougher than Le Mans as you had more cars and were almost constantly turning, dealing with traffic, etc. Admittedly the performance gaps were much wider then as well.

    So certainly a good test for Alonso and it will be interesting to see what he makes of it all.
     
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  15. dcollins22585

    dcollins22585

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    Always going to be cold in January right next to the ocean. Get the infield/grandstand pass and you can go anywhere but a 5 foot strip on pit road.
     
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  16. DucMan888

    DucMan888
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    Great news for fans of IMSA and sports car racing in general. I like what appears to be a re-unification of the prototypes of WEC and IMSA together again at all the worlds true endurance races.
     
  17. Andrew Harper

    Andrew Harper
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    Yes, it certainly seems that's the way to do the event :thumbsup:

    The prices are a bargain compared to something like a Grand Prix, or even an Indycar race.

    Can't remember if it was last year or the year before but it rained for something like 12 hours. There was this poor guy in the grandstand with his waterproofs on, dedicated fellow! :)
     
  18. GTRacer123

    GTRacer123

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    Pretty much yeah why not. Couple years ago he waved the French flag for the start of Le Mans and did a few interviews and said "I don't know when but I will definitely race here"
     
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  19. Rob

    Rob
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    Well, I'm a huge Nando fan and I must say this is a bit of a disappointment.

    IMSA is a sanctioning body owned by NASCAR (France Family Mafia) and The IMSA Weathertech Sports Car Championship and Daytona is their corporate headquarters. Sports Car racing died in America when NASCAR bought The American LeMans Series. This means you get "competition cautions" at the end, for no good reason. When this happened in 2016, I stopped watching, despite being there when the late great ALMS was born.

    The whole reason the ALMS was created was to be the first spoke in a hub of year-long racing series' that had, at the center, the one and only LeMans 24 hour race. The triple crown is very very sacred. The most sacred and the three races I always watch, with Monaco being the least attractive. IN fact, a team would get an automatic bid to LeMans (the best idea) if they won the ALMS (not so anymore, for good reason). IMSA has no connection to the LeMans 24 hour except for show. A big show these days, granted, but if you think NASCAR has any intentions of respecting any of the LeMans traditions, you are sadly mistaken. They have already made a mockery of the rules. And if you don't believe me, ask any true ALMS fan, like this racing exec --

    The end of the race [2014] was The Last Straw for me, however. Any hope that this new series would be run with even a modicum of credibility was pretty much abandoned long before then, but that final "phantom" caution, which went on f-o-r-e-v-e-r, sealed the deal. The NASCAR approach to road racing is a complete joke.
    http://www.autoextremist.com/fumes1...f-major-league-sports-car-racing-a-bitte.html
    (A good article, for history)

    This does not even sxratch the surface. A great deep dive into how NASCAR ruined road racing and the ALMS is here, by Gordon Kirby. "There's a lot of junk out there today. If you want it straight, read Kirby." -- Paul Newman

    NASCAR makes the FIA look like pikers when it comes to race manipulation. NASCAR is anti-technology. If Fernando doesn't know this, he will soon find out. Better to rent a track and car for a day NANDO, because he will either win because NASCAR wants the fame, or lose because NASCAR hates F1.

    A similar fate will befall LeMans if the ACO (the equivalent here is the SCCA, who sanctions actual racing, not theater) even sells out to the FIA.

    When smaller, grassroots, and racer-run organizations like the ACO (LeMans off shoots all over the world, inspired by the old ALMS) and the SCCA build and own something successful, either NASCAR or the FIA will generally buy it and ruin it. Thank God IndyCar sanctions itself and other non-cookie cutter open wheel races.

    So have fun Fernando. You will always be loved here in the U.S. I hope you come back to Indy (one offs rarely work, but Fernando is special) and I hope you complete in the only *real* major road course event for sports cars - LeMans.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017
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  20. Boby Kim

    Boby Kim

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    Oh boy do i love the 24 hours of Daytona. For me its even better than Le Mans