Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Fernando Alonso To Run Indianapolis 500

Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso will compete in next month's Indianapolis 500.

McLaren, Alonso's F1 team, made the announcement early Wednesday morning that the Spanish driver will skip the Monaco Grand Prix in favor of his first Verizon IndyCar Series race in Indianapolis.

“I’m immensely excited that I’ll be racing in this year’s Indy 500, with McLaren, Honda and Andretti Autosport," said Alonso.

“The Indy 500 is one of the most famous races on the global motorsport calendar, rivalled only by the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Monaco Grand Prix [which Fernando has won twice, one of those victories at the wheel of a McLaren (in 2007)], and it’s of course a regret of mine that I won’t be able to race at Monaco this year. But Monaco will be the only 2017 Grand Prix I’ll be missing, and I’ll be back in the cockpit of the McLaren-Honda MCL32 for the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal in early June.   

“I’ve never raced an IndyCar car before, and neither have I ever driven on a superspeedway, but I’m confident that I’ll get to grips with it fast. I’ve watched a lot of IndyCar action on TV and online, and it’s clear that great precision is required to race in close proximity with other cars on the far side of 220mph [354km/h]. I realize I’ll be on a steep learning curve, but I’ll be flying to Indianapolis from Barcelona immediately after the Spanish Grand Prix, practising our McLaren-Honda-Andretti car at Indy from May 15 onwards, hopefully clocking up a large number of miles every day, and I know how good the Andretti Autosport guys are. I’ll be proud to race with them, and I intend to mine their knowledge and expertise for as much info as I possibly can.   

“I’ve won the Monaco Grand Prix twice, and it’s one of my ambitions to win the Triple Crown [the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hours], which has been achieved by only one driver in the history of motorsport: Graham Hill. It’s a tough challenge, but I’m up for it. I don’t know when I’m going to race at Le Mans, but one day I intend to. I’m only 35: I’ve got plenty of time for that.” 

The deal was put together by former Indianapolis resident and current Executive Director of Mclaren Technology Group Zak Brown, INDYCAR, Honda and according to this Racer.com report, Stefan Wilson.

The race to 33 cars has become much more clear in the recent days.

We currently stand at 30 confirmed car and driver combinations. The 31st car is confirmed to come from Juncos Racing.

Honda is now maxed out at 18 entries, so the remaining 2 cars will be Chevrolet powered. I see a second Juncos entry and the Lazier Racing car as the most likely path to 33.

The full car count can be viewed HERE.

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