United Autosports

Brown talks up ‘awesome’ Alonso after maiden sports car tests

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Fernando Alonso’s preparations for his sports car racing debut in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona got off to an “awesome” start in a private LMP2 test at Motorland Aragon earlier this week with United Autosports.

Ahead of a possible entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans next June as part of his bid to win the Triple Crown of Motorsport, two-time Formula 1 world champion Alonso will appear at Daytona in his first sports car racing appearance.

Alonso tested an LMP1 car with Toyota last Sunday in Bahrain before returning to Europe to test United Autosports’ Ligier JS P217 car that he will race at Daytona.

United Autosports team boss Zak Brown – also Alonso’s F1 boss at McLaren – talked up the Spaniard’s display in Friday’s FIA press conference ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“He’s a true racer,” Brown said. “I wasn’t at his test in Bahrain so I’ve only spoken to him briefly about it. I think he found the way the cars, with their energy systems and the recovery work, are fascinating.

“I was at the test in LMP2 and as you would expect he was awesome, very focused and what we saw was the least amount of fall-off over a run that we’ve seen of any racing driver in our cars.

“So he is definitely on the top of his game right now.”

Alonso is set to continue his private testing program through the winter before appearing at the ‘Roar Before the Rolex 24’ test in early January at Daytona.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.