Fernando Alonso says he is using this month’s Rolex 24 at Daytona to see whether he enjoys endurance racing enough to join the field for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
The two-time Formula 1 World Champion is experiencing the Daytona International Speedway for the first time this week in the ROAR before the 24 with United Autosports, and he admits he could race at Le Mans, particularly after testing with Toyota Gazoo Racing’s LMP1 machinery in Bahrain last November.
“Doing this race is some kind of first step in endurance championship [driving], how these races are and how much I enjoy these races,” said Alonso on Motorsport.com. “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.
“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.”
Alonso is hoping to use the same approach to Daytona as he did last year when he ran the Indianapolis 500 for the first time, and despite his limited knowledge of LMP2 and endurance racing, he is aiming to take victory at the first time of asking alongside co-drivers Phil Hanson and Lando Norris.
“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,” said Alonso, who is using a new helmet design for the Rolex 24 this year.
“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.”