McLaren Racing chief executive Zak Brown has said that he wants star man Fernando Alonso to drive for the brand if they choose to expand their motorsport programme outside of Formula 1.
Alonso, who is competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship‘s first ‘superseason’ with Toyota GAZOO Racing alongside his F1 responsibilities, opted out of last year’s Monaco Grand Prix in order to make his Indianapolis 500 debut with McLaren as part of his bid to secure motorsport’s heralded ‘Triple Crown’.
Brown, part of the team that oversaw Alonso’s Indy 500 one-off appearance, believes that the Spaniard will continue racing beyond his F1 career and hopes that he will stay attached to McLaren.
“We’d like to have Fernando in our racing team for as long as he wants to drive. I think he’ll continue driving beyond his Formula 1 career,” Brown speculated, speaking to RACER.
“If we’re in other forms of motor racing, then of course we’d love to have Fernando in our car.”
In recent weeks, Brown has said that the proposed F1 budget cap has sparked McLaren into potentially venturing into other series and disciplines, including the Verizon Indycar Series and the WEC. McLaren last won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995 with their F1 GTR spec-machine; and with talks of new regulations that could replace the fading LMP1-H category, Brown says that the championship is becoming increasingly enticing.
“McLaren has a long history in additional forms of motorsport,” he said. “Whether that was Can-Am, IndyCar, we’ve won Le Mans, and so that is something with the new regulations coming out for World Endurance (Championship) we’re participating in those meetings and reviewing what that looks like. We’re a fan of the Le Mans brand.
“We did the Indy 500 last year. That’s something that in the right circumstances…North America is an important market for us.
“We’re a fan of IndyCar racing so as we look at the budget cap and how do you manage that, looking at additional forms of racing is something that we’re considering.”
Brown concluded by revealing that an overall Le Mans victory holds “the highest value” for any brand and that early talks over the WEC’s future beyond the 2019/20 season have been promising.
“The rules as they’re being proposed we find compelling,” he added.
“We would consider running the new whatever they’re going to call it — GTP, Silhouette, LMP1 — I’ve heard various phrases. But I think what’s exciting is trying to go to Le Mans to win outright. That’s the highest value for a racing team.”
In February, Brown dismissed the chances of a GTE-Pro entry by McLaren, saying to Autosport that the programme would take “several years” to develop.