Alonso ready to ROAR in Daytona 24

Fernando Alonso and Michael Andretti watch the start of the final warmup for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama -- Photo by: Joe Skibinski, INDYCAR

Seems like the racing season just ended and yet, here we are ready to go racing again. This weekend Fernando Alonso will be in the seat of a United Autosports Ligier JSP217 testing for the 2018 Daytona 24 on January 27-28.

Fernando will be sharing his car with McLaren reserve driver Lando Norris and Phil Hanson and it will be interesting to see how Fernando does with sharing his toys. IF you’ve listened to our podcasts and the content we created from our presence at the Daytona 24 with Paul Charsley, Matt Bell and Jeff Westphal, you’ll know how critical it is to think big picture when you have two teammates.

In Formula 1, Fernando had to sharpen his car sympathy skills and protect its engine, fuel, tires and much more. While that is always the case for any racing series, F1 has taken a dramatic turn toward car conservation even though it is a sprint race which is part of its problem. The Daytona 24, on the other hand, is all about car preservation just as Le Mans is. That’s called endurance racing and it is a massive part of the series.

I suspect Alonso will do very much the same as he did in the Indycar series in that he blitzed the field and should/could have won that race had his Honda engine not died. My expectations are that Alonso will do very well in the Daytona 24 but unlike the Indy 500, his teammates will have to do well too if they hope to win and that’s putting Alonso’s fate in the hands of another driver. Something he’s not had to do before.

Hat Tip: ESPN F1

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Suspect the larger challenge for Alonso will be the traffic more than anything, especially at Daytona. It gets incredibly crowded at times and finding a way through is somewhat challenging given the GTLM cars straight line pace isn’t all that different from a Prototype. The GTD cars are slower but also generally less predictable.


This is a great race to attend, but it’s a different mentality than the 2-3 hr race… it’s a lot more social. One memorable moment I have is in ’89 I was driving by the track and decided to stop in (I don’t remember paying, or being able to afford to pay on my then military salary). I just happened to sit next to a team owner. I wish I was older and could have asked better questions (like, do you need any help getting back to the garage?!). He was much more talkative than I was and unfortunately to… Read more »

Tom Firth

Was that the year with the long fog delay overnight?


I was there in the afternoon, so I don’t remember. Back then I didn’t even have a TV so all my races were seen very much live! Heck, I don’t even know if these were broadcast live in the US at that point.


I would not be surprised if Alonso did well. Considering how well he did at the Indy 500, I imagine that he’d be able to figure out how to race in any discipline.