FORT WORTH, Texas – Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso and Team McLaren conducted a one-day test Tuesday at Texas Motor Speedway in preparation for this year’s 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500.
It was the first time in an Indy car on a high-banked oval for the Spanish driver who started fifth and finished 24th in the 2017 Indianapolis 500, winning rookie-of-the-year honors.
“It was great. Obviously, it’s only the first couple of laps with the car and we’re taking care of everything, slowly building the speed,” said Alonso. “But, yeah, I drove the Indy car at Barber (Motorsports Park) last year but it’s good to be back on the oval with a very specific setup and this car that turns left, self-steering a little bit. Again, some weird feeling for me but trying to get used to it. Also, the speedway is very special. There’s a lot of banking on the corner, especially in three and four so very different than Indianapolis but, hopefully, a good preparation for us.”
The Chevrolet-powered McLaren IndyCar entry Alonso tested Tuesday was prepared at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, England. The test served as a shakedown opportunity for Alonso and the team, allowing both to get familiar with the car prior to hitting the track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“Obviously it’s just about getting comfort in the car,” said Alonso. “Obviously, it’s a new car and a new team so, in terms of seat position, head rest, pedals, you know, steering wheel preferences, I think all these things I think now we can start the work. And for the team, I think it’s quite important to set up everything as a team: who does what in the team and also the people, the facility, everything is completely new for everyone. We’re trying to solve as many problems as possible here and the open test on the 24th and getting ready for the 500.”
Alonso’s goal has been well publicized, he wants to win the famed Triple Crown of motorsports. He already has victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Monaco Grand Prix, so all he lacks is a victory at Indianapolis to complete the set.
Tuesday’s test at Texas Motor Speedway was another step closer to that goal.
“That’s the target this year after winning Le Mans last year,” Alonso said. “The Indy 500 is the one left of the big ones. I was lucky enough to win Daytona 24 also at the beginning of the year so one day I win the Indy 500 it’s not going to be a Triple Crown anymore. It’s going to be a little bit more.”