Fernando Alonso adds 24 Hours of Le Mans, other WEC events to 2018 racing schedule

Getty Images
0 Comments

Fernando Alonso will be doing some moonlighting this year.

Two days after completing his first career appearance in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, Alonso and McLaren Formula One Team announced today that he’ll compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well as run for the FIA World Endurance Championship in addition to his F1 championship bid.

The two-time Formula One champion will do his sports car endurance racing for Toyota Gazoo Racing, McLaren announced.

“I’ve never been shy about my aim of winning motorsport’s ‘Triple Crown’ – the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indy 500, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” Alonso said in a statement. “We tried for Indy last year, came close, but just missed out.

“This year, I have the chance – thanks to McLaren – to race for the win at Le Mans. It is a big challenge – much can go wrong – but I am ready, prepared and looking forward to the fight.

“In no way will this challenge take away from my main target of Formula 1 with McLaren. In 2018, my aim is to be competitive at every grand prix, and I feel sure that we are closer to achieving that.”

For now, the 36-year-old Spaniard is slated to compete in seven of the eight races on the WEC schedule, which kicks off May 5 at Spa in Belgium, followed by the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 16-17.

The only WEC race Alonso will miss is the 6 Hours of Fuji, in Oyama, Japan, on Oct. 21, which is in direct conflict the same weekend with F1’s U.S. Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Alonso is not expected to return to Indianapolis for the Indy 500, as it is run on the same day as F1’s Monaco Grand Prix.

“It’s no secret that Fernando has wanted to contest the Le Mans 24 Hours,” Zak Brown, Executive Director, McLaren Technology Group, said in a media release. “Last year, we came to the joint decision to go racing with Fernando at the Indy 500 rather than at the Monaco Grand Prix.

“But we’ve always said that we would consider each opportunity on a case-by-case basis, and we both know that, in 2018, our core priority is success in Formula 1.

“Like Fernando, at McLaren we’re racers at heart, and our team is built on a brave heritage of competing and succeeding in different forms of the sport. Equally important is the confidence that nothing detracts from our number one goal of Formula 1.

“After proper evaluation, we are satisfied that this campaign does not do that, and that McLaren’s best interests prevail.”

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
Align Media
0 Comments

ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.