Mexico’s Toyota Series to stay under NASCAR banner through 2023

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NASCAR’s top division in Mexico, the Toyota Series, will continue to run under the NASCAR banner through the 2023 season after yesterday’s announcement of a 10-year agreement between the sanctioning body and Grupo CIE.

The series will once again begin its season here in the United States with the Toyota 120 on Friday night at Phoenix International Raceway.

“This extension symbolizes the strength of our relationship with NASCAR,” Toyota Series managing director Federico Alaman said in a statement.

“I’m very proud of how far the series has come since its inception and continuing to operate under the NASCAR banner for many years to come will reinforce the high level of competition and excitement the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series brings to every event.”

In his own thoughts, NASCAR executive vice president of racing operations Steve O’Donnell called the agreement a sign of “the international impact NASCAR is making.”

“The NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series continues to be a bridge that makes NASCAR more relevant to the Hispanic community in the U.S.,” he continued. “Along with the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series gives our sport a strong and unified presence across North America and Europe.”

Friday night’s race will be broadcast live en Espanol at 9 p.m. ET on mun2 (pronounced moon-dos) as a production of Deportes Telemundo.

The race will also be live-streamed at DeportesTelemundo.com. Telemundo and mun2 are NBCUniversal-owned networks.

Fernando Alonso completes first test with United Autosports

Photo: United Autosports
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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.