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Alonso stresses importance of Triple Crown bid in 2018 racing plans

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Fernando Alonso has stressed that his bid for the Triple Crown of Motorsport remains a priority as he forms his 2018 racing plans, adding fuel to the fire of a shot at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Alonso began his push to become just the second driver in history to win the Triple Crown by taking part in the Indianapolis 500 in May as part of a joint entry between McLaren, Honda and Andretti Autosport.

Alonso has completed one leg by winning the Monaco Grand Prix twice, and has long-stressed his desire to race at Le Mans, dropping heavy hints last month in a press conference that he could target an appearance at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Contract talks with McLaren are continuing, with Alonso aiming to have a decision made by the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas next weekend.

Speaking during a live Q&A on Instagram, Alonso said he was continuing to mull over racing plans for next year, but said his Triple Crown bid remained a priority.

“I’m still thinking, still deciding. I could have already made a decision, but there’s still some details we need to figure out,” Alonso said.

“As I’ve said many times, my aim is to be the best driver in the world, to be the most complete driver in the world. For that, you need to win in different series in different cars at different times.

“The Triple Crown is still a very big priority for me, so I’m working on that.”

Alonso has already ruled out racing in the Indy 500 next year due to the clash with the Monaco Grand Prix, leaving Le Mans as the only possible way to further his Triple Crown bid.

There are no clashes between F1 and Le Mans in 2018, with both the test day and the starting of the Le Mans race week avoiding grand prix weekends.

Alonso would also be able to make his FIA World Endurance Championship debut at the 6 Hours of Spa at the beginning of May as a pre-cursor to Le Mans, with the event falling between grands prix in Azerbaijan and Spain.

Toyota is set to be the sole manufacturer racing in the LMP1 class of the WEC next year after Porsche’s departure, making it the only location for Alonso to possible end up if he wants to challenge for overall victory.

While this may have been hard to make happen when McLaren was partnered with rival Japanese manufacturer Honda, the F1 team will link up with Renault from 2018, opening up the possibility.

Takuma Sato’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner Trophy (PHOTOS)

Photos; Walt Kuhn
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INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.

Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.

It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.

Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)