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Alonso Eyeing Rolex 24 Return

Fernando Alonso reportedly in discussions with teams for 2019 Rolex 24 DPi ride…

Photo: United Autosports

Fernando Alonso could return to the Rolex 24 at Daytona as part of a selected race program to “close the calendar” of his racing commitments in 2019.

The Spaniard, who will not return to Formula 1 next year, has revealed that he’s lining up races in addition to his already confirmed outing in the Indianapolis 500 with McLaren and remainder of the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship season with Toyota Gazoo Racing.

Sportscar365 understands that Alonso’s management has recently approached several DPi teams in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for a potential one-off drive in January’s season-opener.

Alonso made his sports car racing debut at Daytona this year, as part of United Autosports’ LMP2 effort, finishing 38th overall after battling mechanical issues with the team’s Ligier JS P217 Gibson.

The Anglo-American squad, co-owned by McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown, however, has already ruled out a 2019 effort in the Florida endurance classic.

When asked if he’s looking to return to the Rolex 24 in pursuit of overall victory, the two-time Formula 1 world champion said “maybe.”

“I’m looking to close the calendar, but yes there are going to be a couple more challenges [apart] from Indy,” Alonso told Sportscar365.

Alonso said he doesn’t necessarily see the Rolex 24 as unfinished business, but admitted the race provides some “attractive things” particularly in keeping sharp during the winter months.

The 37-year-old currently does not have a race scheduled between this month’s F1 season finale in Abu Dhabi and the 1000 Miles of Sebring WEC race in mid-March.

“The [Rolex 24] itself is challenging and the way that in America, the way they race with the safety cars and try to keep the race close until the last couple of hours,” Alonso said.

“I think it’s quite fun to do. It’s in the middle of January with the weather in Miami in Florida, so it has some attractive things.”

Alonso admitted he’s also looking at other races beyond the Rolex 24 next year.

He’s due to take part in a car swap with seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson in Bahrain later this month, which could hint towards a potential one-off outing in NASCAR race.

“There are a couple of iconic places and races that I will probably add to the calendar, because at the moment I have only three WEC races and Indy,” Alonso said.

“It will be a little bit more than that.”

Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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