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Alonso Takes To The DIS High Banks

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, January 6 2018

Formula One two-time champ Fernando Alonso is back in America and this time in a sports car in Florida. (File photo)

The Americanization of Spanish driver Fernando Alonso continued on Friday when the two-time Formula One world champion took his first laps in a sports car during the Roar Before the 24 practice at Daytona International Speedway.

Loved it, Alonso, who is co-piloting the No. 23 United Autosports Ligier LM P2 car, said after his initial laps.

“It was good fun,” Alonso, for whom this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona will mark his second foray into American racing, said. “Unfortunately I’m missing a little bit of track time … but, so far so good.”

Alonso took just three laps in the morning session on Friday but they were three laps that left an impression.

 “You feel, you smell motor racing here so that’s a good feeling for any driver. The speedway is amazing size. Everything is just huge,” he said.

Alonso, F1 champion in 2005 and ’06, will make a special “one-off” appearance at the Rolex 24 on Jan. 27-28, co-driving with Phil Hanson and Lando Norris.

“The coolness and the high banking were special,” Alonso said. “You feel the compression in the body and you feel the visibility change, because when you are in, let’s say, the normal part of the circuit, you have a view in the car that is a little bit longer ahead.

“When you are in the corner with the banking, you see the next 200 meters of the track and only that. I was trying to look where the track was going. It was good fun and a fast feeling.”

This follows another highly anticipated American debut by the Spaniard at last year’s Indianapolis 500 where he started fifth and finished 24th.

“The goal here is more or less the same as at Indianapolis,” Alonso said. “The goal is to try to learn different driving techniques, try to learn from the specialists of endurance races, try to be a better driver when the Rolex 24 [is held]. For me, it’s the first time in an endurance race, the first time in a Prototype car, the first time driving at night – many new things will come, step by step. It’s quite a big challenge.”

The Roar continues on Saturday and Sunday.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, January 6 2018
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