Fernando AlonsoEnlarge Photo
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso will take time out from his pre-season schedule for the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship to race in the 2018 24 Hours of Daytona.
Alonso will join Lando Norris and Phil Hanson at United Autosports to pilot the team’s LMP2-spec car, a Ligier JS P217. The team’s co-founder, Zak Brown, is CEO of McLaren.
It will be the first endurance race for Alonso who in the past has admitted a desire to one day race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It will also be the first time Alonso competes in a prototype sports car.
Alonso is no stranger to competing in other series. In May he competed in the Indianapolis 500 in a McLaren-branded racecar fielded by Andretti Autosport, though sadly he couldn’t finish due to engine trouble.
The 24 Hours of Daytona is once again serving as the opening race of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Testing takes place on January 5, while the race takes place on the weekend starting January 26.
The news comes just a week after McLaren announced it had extended its contract with Alonso. McLaren only said Alonso would contest the 2018 F1 season with the team, but in an interview the Spaniard said he’s there for the long haul, suggesting that the new contract extends to multiple seasons.