Two-time Formula 1 world champion and Le Mans 24 Hours winner Fernando Alonso says he returns to this month’s IMSA Sportscar Championship’s Daytona 24 Hours ready to win.
Alonso contested last year’s event with the United Autosports team’s Ligier, but the car was not a match for the frontrunners and eventually retired.
This time he has joined the Wayne Taylor Racing team to drive a Cadillac DPI-V.R, which he tried for the first time on Friday as the official ‘Roar before the 24’ pre-race test began.
“The expectation is higher, but we will see at the end,” said Alonso, who shares the WTR machine with Jordan Taylor, Renger van der Zande and his Toyota World Endurance Championship colleague Kamui Kobayashi.
“I think I’m in a much better position this time than last year.
“This year I take all the experience and learning from last year – traffic management, fuel saving, how the US safety cars work – it’s all going to be useful. That changes the approach of the race. Last year [at Daytona] was about preparation for Le Mans. This year is now about winning.”
WTR won Daytona in 2005 and ’17, and Alonso’s car was second fastest in Friday’s opening session then led the way in afternoon practice with Kobayashi.
The Joest-run Mazda team set the pace on the final day of the test, securing a 1-2 with Harry Tincknell beating team-mate Oliver Jarvis by 0.392 seconds.
In the subsequent ‘qualifying’ session held to determine pitboxes and pitstalls for the race, on January 26/27, both Mazdas unofficially broke the track’s 26-year-old lap record at Daytona’s road course.
Alonso returns to Daytona 24 Hours
Last year Alonso raced United Autosports’s Ligier at Daytona, but car was off the pace and retired