Fernando Alonso is using the Daytona 24 Hours to see if he likes endurance racing enough to tackle Le Mans in the future
Towards the end of 2017 hype around Alonso possibly racing at Le Mans really ramped up. He announced that he’d be racing in the Daytona 24 Hours (or Rolex 24 as it’s known, because sponsors), then tested for Toyota in Bahrain. There were even rumours he might do the whole WEC season.
But recently things have gone quiet on the Le Mans front, and that’s because Fernando isn’t sure if he’ll even like endurance racing yet.
He’s taking part in the Daytona test this weekend ahead of the race on the 27-28 January and has suggested that he’ll need to enjoy it if he wants to go on and compete at Le Mans.
“Doing this race is some kind of first step in endurance championship [driving], how these races are and how much I enjoy these races. Hopefully, it’s a positive answer. After the Daytona 24 Hours, I will have a better understanding of these championships and the Le Mans 24 Hours and the triple crown is another target.”
He also said he’s approaching the event in the same way as he did with the Indy 500 - to treat it as a learning experience and then go for it if he gets the chance.
“It’s more or less the same goal as Indianapolis - first of all, try to learn different driving techniques, try to learn from the specialists of endurance races, try to be a better driver when the 24 hours finishes.
“It’s the first time for me in an endurance race, first time in a prototype car, first time driving at night, first time driving with GT cars around so many new things that will come step by step. That’s quite a big challenge but I’m ready to enjoy first of all and, as happened at Indianapolis, if you feel the opportunity, if you feel competitive, you go for it.”
If all goes well, Fernando said he’d like to do Le Mans this year before returning to Indianapolis for another crack at the 500.
“So if I can fit in the Le Mans 24 Hours this year that I’m not doing the Indy 500, that will be great and hopefully the following year the Indy 500 can be in the plan again.”
The way he’s talking makes it sound like it’s good to go with Toyota and that it all hinges on how well he gets on with the challenges of endurance racing this month. Enjoy it, Fernando, because we all want to see you at Le Mans!