Fresh off a dramatic victory last Sunday in the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil, James Hinchcliffe is ready to get started on preparations for the 97th Indianapolis 500. But before he takes his first laps of the season around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, he’ll serve as the Indianapolis Department of Public Safety’s “Director For A Day” tomorrow afternoon according to a release obtained by Bill McCleery of The Indianapolis Star.
The release says that the Andretti Autosport driver, who has had a feast-or-famine season so far with two wins and two DNFs, will meet with the Indianapolis fire and police departments. In addition, he’ll also attend a rescue demonstration, training sessions at the city’s police academy, and various meetings with public officials.
IDPS director Troy Riggs started the “Director For A Day” program, which occurs once a month and is designed to show members of the public what day-to-day operations are like for the department.
Hinchcliffe and the rest of the “500” field begin their quest for the Borg-Warner Trophy this weekend with the start of practice out at the Brickyard. NBC Sports Network will have coverage from IMS starting Saturday, May 18 with Pole Day qualifying (11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. ET, 4:30-6:30 p.m. ET) and will also carry Bump Day (Sun., May 19, Noon-6:30 p.m. ET) and Carb Day (Fri., May 24, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. ET) activities leading up to the race on Sunday, May 26.
Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.
The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.
“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.
Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”
Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.
“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.
Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.