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31 January 2018, 09:43 | Ruben Fields
Credit Jake Galstad LAT Images Courtesy of IMSA
Fernando Alonso feels "more prepared" for a possible debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans later this year after completing his first sports vehicle race in the Rolex 24 at Daytona over the weekend. His team, which is driving the No. 23 United AutosportsLigier LMP2 auto, faced problems in testing and practice, eventually qualifying in 13th position for Saturday's race start.
"[Daytona is] a very nice event, very nice driving this auto", Alonso said, before detailing some of the new things he learned in sports vehicle racing after spending his career to date in single-seaters.
However, there was success for the sister vehicle, with a line-up featuring Sky F1's Paul di Resta finishing a fine fourth despite their own reliability setbacks.
"I love driving and when you drive eight or nine hours in one race it's much better than one". Unfortunately, we had too many issues that were out of our control, some unlucky situations like the puncture.
As a result, Brown believes the team, who are also fielding a second vehicle for Bruno Senna, Paul di Resta, Will Owen and Hugo de Sadeleer, would be satisfied with a top five finish, but feel a victory is a long shot.
He added: "Our pace in the whole race was pretty good in terms of our disadvantage of our actual pace in the vehicle". "Next time I jump in a prototype vehicle, closed cockpit, I know the traffic situations, night driving, safety auto".
It then suffered a throttle problem and another brake failure - again with Alonso driving - and the vehicle eventually finished 36th.
Alonso tested Toyota's LMP1 vehicle in Bahrain last November and made his sports auto racing debut in the Rolex 24 at Daytona last weekend, acting as preparation for a possible Le Mans entry.
"I can drive prototypes better than I could two weeks ago", Alonso said. As I said many times, I would like to do it.
Alonso said that he found the Rolex 24 to "absolutely" be a ideal preparation for a possible Le Mans entry, and feels he would be more prepared for the race than he was for his Indy 500 debut, where he qualified fifth and was in contention for a shock victory at one stage.
"My deal to race in WEC was only made possible through the good understanding and strong relationship I have with McLaren, and I'm very happy that they listened and understood what this means to me".
Officially, Formula 1 star Fernando Alonso led two laps of this weekends IMSA season opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
But the Spaniard has also expressed his determination to complete motorsport's Triple Crown of the Monaco GP, Indianapolis 500 and Le Mans.
"On track on my final lap before I boxed, I overtook my teammate [the #32 Ligier], who I thought was my ahead of me, and I could swear he had the 8 [on the digital readout that shows current position] on the auto".
Sky Sports F1 is the only place to watch every Formula 1 Grand Prix, qualifying and practice session live in 2018.
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