Former McLaren Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso will test at Texas Motor Speedway next month as part of his preparations for his second attempt on IndyCar’s Indianapolis 500.
McLaren ambassador Alonso ran in contention in his first go at the Indy 500 after qualifying fifth, competing for Andretti Autosport under the McLaren banner.
More recently, Alonso has added a Le Mans 24 Hours victory to his triple crown bid, but will return to Indianapolis with McLaren Racing in a bid to complete the crown.
McLaren has entered into a technical partnership with season-season IndyCar outfit Carlin and will test Alonso at Texas on April 9.
What does Alonso’s ambassador role tell us?
Asked by Autosport how his preparations were proceeding, Alonso said: “Everything is going well. Preparation-wise, we are on time with everything.
“We were on the simulator last week in Charlotte and yeah, I’m quite happy with the McLaren preparations.
“We will test in Texas at the beginning of April and Indianapolis at the end of April [in the open test].
“So definitely I’m preparing as much as I can with engineers, with the simulations, with all the McLaren people who are involved in the program, watching the past races on television, onboards. “So I think we are quite prepared.”
Alonso added that the Indy 500 is his primary goal in 2019. “Obviously all my focus is on Indianapolis this year,” he said. “It’s not that I don’t put focus on tomorrow’s [WEC Sebring] race; I give 100%.
“But when I’m at home my preparations are only on Indianapolis.”
Asked if he expected to be able to emulate his level of performance in 2017’s Indy 500, Alonso said: “That is the intention, to be at least as competitive as we were in 2017 but hopefully with a better final result of finishing the race at least!
“But we respect a lot the teams already there – Penske, Andretti, Carpenter, Ganassi.
“They are on top of their game all the time and they prepare for oval racing like no-one else does, so I think for us it is going to be a great challenge.
“But we accept it and if we can be at that level or close to that level, it is going to be already on target. So let’s see.”