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Fernando Alonso will enter 2019 Indy 500 with new McLaren Racing team

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Fernando Alonso will head to Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a fully-backed McLaren Racing entry, according to McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown.

When Alonso made his first start there in 2017, the entry was in collaboration with Andretti Autosport.

“We’ve always had a desire to go as McLaren Racing,” Brown said at SpeedCafe.com. “Last time we did it on such short notice I think it would have been impossible, it was six weeks between announcing and racing, and you can’t build up a race team that quickly.”

Saturday’s announcement that Alonso would enter the 2019 Indy 500 was done early enough to allow the team to put all the necessary pieces in place with existing partners and shareholders of McLaren Racing.

The team has a little more than six months – which is still a very short window for the creation of a new team. Brown expects economies-of-scale that will allow them to pull off this feat in the time allotted.

“It’s a whole separate racing team that will be created and we are a large racing team with a lot of resources and I am extremely confident, or we would not have entered, that we can give maximum effort in our F1 effort as well as Indy without one compromising the other,” Brown said.

“It is going to be people that are not currently on our Formula 1 team. It will be built up from relationships that we have. It’ll be a new McLaren entry.”

The reasoning behind creating a new team may well be strategic.

So that was one of things the shareholders and ourselves wanted to do, to go as McLaren Racing,” Brown said. “That is why we have made the announcement today to make time to bring those resources and the people in to have our own team.”

And while Brown would not reveal whether there is any credibility to rumors that the organization may go fulltime IndyCar racing either next year or in the future, putting the pieces in place to run a fully supported entry keeps that option alive.

Certainly we’ll be in a position where we are there with equipment, people and resources so it gives us a head start if ultimately we end up doing a fulltime entry,” Brown said.

Fueling speculation as to McLaren’s interest in running IndyCar long term was a statement by Tony Stewart last week that Brown was one of the principles he spoke with about a possible ride in the 2020 Indy 500.

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Keating stripped of Le Mans GTE-Am win; No. 68 Ganassi entry also disqualified

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FIA stewards announced Monday that two Ford GT entries have been disqualified from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, including the GTE-Am class-winning No. 85 entry from privateer Keating Motorsports.

Also DQ’d was the factory No. 68 Chip Ganassi Racing entry of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, which initially finished fourth in the GTE-Pro class.

Both entries were found in violation of fuel capacity regulations, with the No. 85 entry also failing to meet the minimum refueling time during pit stops.

The refueling system on the No. 85 entry, driven by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga, measured a time of 44.4 seconds during a stop, just shy of the minimum required time of 45 seconds.

As a result, the team was initially issued a 55.2-second post-race penalty by officials, which elevated the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR of Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, and Egidio Perfetti to the class win.

The time penalty was calculated by the difference in the refueling time (0.6 seconds) multiplied by the amount of pit stops made by the team (23), then multiplied by four.

The No. 85 entry was set to finish second in class, but then received an outright DQ after its fuel capacity was also revealed to be 0.1 liters above the maximum permitted capacity of 96 liters.

As for Ganassi’s No. 68 entry, it was found to have a fuel capacity of 97.83 liters, which is above the maximum allowed capacity of 97 liters for the GTE-Pro Fords.

The No. 67 Ford of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, and Jonathan Bomarito subsequently moves up to fourth, and the No. 69 Ford of Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook moves up to fifth.

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