Jean Alesi (Photo Credit: Group Lotus)

Jean Alesi (Photo Credit: Group Lotus)

Former Formula One driver Jean Alesi has secured an unlikely seat in the Indianapolis 500 after striking a deal with Lotus.

The Frenchman will now get the chance to qualify for this years 500, 11 years after he bought curtain down on his Formula One career. His entry, backed by Lotus, will be run by Fan Force United, a consortium co-owned by former IRL driver Tyce Carlson.

It will be Alesi’s IndyCar and Oval debut and he will carry the #64 on his car during the rookie orientation practice, which beings on Thursday.

“We’ve been talking about this race for a long time, and trying to find the right team to go with. I’m very happy to be joining Fan Force United,” said Alesi, who is believed to have made use of Dallara’s test simulator in Italy.

“Lotus believe it’s the right place for me to be, and I trust the team completely and am sure we will do a super job. Last week I spent two days in Italy at the Dallara factory on their simulator, which is an incredibly sophisticated bit of kit and on which I have learned so much about oval techniques and setup.

“So I feel ready for the Indy 500, but also I am very happy to be doing the rookie test on May 10 ahead of the real practice. This will give me time to gain confidence and the feeling for the car and the track. The race is now just three weeks away, and we’re going to be working flat-out up to that date. I can’t wait.”

Alesi will be one of only two Lotus entrants in the 500, after the engine supplier terminated its agreements with Dragon Racing earlier this year.