Brown: United will “bring our A-game” for Alonso’s Daytona bid
United Autosports boss Zak Brown says Fernando Alonso has joined his team with the stated intent of winning the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, and not simply to gain experience of sportscar racing ahead of a future Le Mans drive.
Alonso – whose stated aim is to achieve the Triple Crown of Monaco F1 Grand Prix, Indy 500 and Le Mans 24 Hours wins – was announced today for United’s squad for the American sportscar classic on January 27-28, having signed on Tuesday.
“The aim is definitely to go there with the intention of trying to win Daytona – otherwise Fernando wouldn’t wanna do it!” said Brown. “I think it’s going to be the toughest 24 Hours of Daytona in modern history, based on the quality of the teams and drivers on the entry.
“A couple of Penskes, a couple of Joests, Wayne Taylor, Action Express, ESM, Rebellion – going through the list there’s likely 12 cars in with a shot of pole, never mind winning the race. So we’re going to bring our A-game, and it’s going to be awesome.
“We did Le Mans this year, finished fourth in class, and fifth overall. Fortunately the P2s are the top class at Daytona [with the DPi category based around them] and I don’t think Fernando would want to drive anything other than the top class car, to go for the overall win.”
“Thinking about racing, 24/7”
Brown, who is also Executive Director of McLaren Technology Group, said the time he’s spent with his two-time Formula 1 World Champion this year had helped seal the deal – although it is independent of any McLaren involvement.
“Fernando and I now have this relationship where we are two guys who always think about racing, 24/7,” Brown added. “While a lot of people are out on Friday night, indulging in a variety of social activities, it seems that Fernando and I are trading texts on race helmet designs, or sharing pictures of cool cars and races.
"One thing led to another, I’m not exactly sure who initiated the conversation, but the 24 Hours of Daytona cropped up.
“As Fernando does, he kinda chats about things, doesn’t really tell you what he’s thinking and then, out of the blue, he goes: ‘I wanna do it.’ That is exactly what happened.”
On the timeline of their talks, Brown confirmed that Alonso showed his interest as soon as he renewed his McLaren F1 contract.
Brown said: “We were in Singapore, and obviously got our F1 deal done, and as soon as we mentally crossed the bridge of getting that sealed, it wasn’t two minutes later before he said, ‘I wanna do Daytona.’ It was really all his decision, you’re not going to talk him into doing something, he decides everything on his own.
“As I spend more time around him, it’s amazing to see the amount of research he does. He thinks things through, and clearly wants to win Daytona as part of his quest to win Le Mans.
"And when you look at United’s line-up – we’ve got some pretty cool drivers in our cars, including Paul di Resta and Lando [Norris].”
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