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10/21 2017

F1’S FERNANDO ALONSO MAY RACE IN AMERICA AFTER ALL, MCLAREN EXEC CONFIRMS

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso will be back at McLaren next season.PHOTO BY LAT PHOTOGRAPHIC

IMSA Rolex 24 could serve as tuneup for Le Mans

BY:  GREG ENGLE

McLaren executive Zak Brown has confirmed that Fernando Alonso could race in next year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona and would “happily” put his name on an available seat.

Alonso confirmed this week that he has signed a new contract with his Formula 1 McLaren team for next season — and perhaps beyond.

The two-time Formula 1 world champion on Thursday confirmed he had signed a new contract with McLaren that will keep him with the team next season.

Alonso raced in this year’s Indy 500, winning rookie honors. He has also expressed an interest in competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In order to prepare for that endurance classic, he could gain experience in IMSA’s season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“The first priority was to finalize the F1 deal, and now that is done — I will look at the other options,” Alonso said Thursday. “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.”

Brown has confirmed Alonso’s new agreement allows him to race in other events so long as the F1 team’s activities don’t clash.

Le Mans would still be a possibility because that endurance classic does not clash with any F1 race. That makes the Rolex a real possibility, since it too does not coincide with any F1 race.

“If Fernando wants to do Daytona and we have a seat available, we would put his name on it happily,” Brown told British newspaper The Express. Brown’s team, United Autosports team has an entry for the Rolex.