United Autosports has confirmed that Fernando Alonso will race for the team in the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The double Formula One World Champion and multiple F1 race winner will race the team’s Ligier JS P217 alongside previously announced drivers Phil Hanson and Lando Norris. Lando is currently a McLaren development driver and this year raced in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, winning the championship with two races to spare. This championship win made him the youngest ever European F3 champion. Phil Hanson, who is the reigning Asian Le Mans Series LMP3 Champion, already has experience of the Ligier JS P217, having raced in the European Le Mans Series and the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2017. At 17 years old, Phil became the youngest driver to finish in the top 10 at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Alonso races for McLaren, but started his F1 career in 2001 racing for Minardi. In 2003 he moved to Renault, where he won both his F1 World Championship titles (in 2005 and 2006). He then moved to McLaren for the 2007 season, before returning to Renault in 2008 and 2009. In 2010, Alonso moved to Ferrari before returning to McLaren in 2015. Winning his second F1 title in 2006 made him the youngest double champion at that time.
The Rolex 24 At Daytona will mark the first time the Spaniard has raced a prototype sports car, however he is no stranger to taking part in one-off races. He entered the 2017 Indianapolis 500 with Andretti Autosport, which he led for 27 laps, and was in contention for the win until forced to retire 21 laps from the end.
The Rolex 24 At Daytona is held at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida and acts as the series opener for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. This year marks the 56th running of the 24-hour endurance event, where United Autosports will enter two Ligier JS P217s. Will Owen and Paul di Resta have already been announced as team-mates to Alonso, Norris and Hanson.
The official test – the ROAR before the 24 – takes place on 5-7 January with the 24 hours being held two weeks later on 26-27 January