Fernando Alonso looking for fun during car swap with Jimmie Johnson
AVONDALE, Ariz. — Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso is retiring from that circuit after this season, but whether any NASCAR racing is on the horizon is still to be determined.
Alonso will test a Hendrick Motorsports car Nov. 26 in Bahrain. Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson will drive one of Alonso’s F1 cars.
The Hendrick car, Johnson’s backup for the Charlotte Motor Speedway road-course race in September, was shipped in a container, leaving the Hendrick shop five weeks ago. Alan Gustafson, crew chief for Johnson teammate Chase Elliott, will oversee the test.
Alonso, in a video conference Friday, wouldn’t say whether the test could lead to any actual NASCAR racing.
“Ultimately what you want is to be a better driver in the future, so I probably will learn things from the team, I will learn things from Jimmie and different driving styles, different techniques, different approach of racing, and all of that will make a better driver for myself,” said Alonso, who is from Spain.
“To racing in the future, I think the first thing is to test the car, to see how it feels, to see how enjoyable it is to drive it. And who knows in the future? I don’t have a key answer to that question.”
The first priority for Alonso is the same as for Johnson — they both just want to experience something totally different. Alonso has competed in the Indianapolis 500 and Rolex 24 At Daytona in the past couple of years.
“The first thing, I think, is going to be to have fun,” Alonso said. “I think we all love racing, any type of racing. And to test for the very first time a NASCAR car with the huge following and all the [reputation] that NASCAR has in the world of motorsports, for me, the first thing is that I want to experience [it] and I want to have that opportunity in life. And it’s happening now in a couple of weeks’ time.”
They plan is to run for several hours and possibly into the night on the road course, which has lights.
“The first couple of laps probably it will be interesting to see the difference between the cars and the approach of the lap,” Alonso said. “But hopefully I can adapt quick enough and maximize a little bit of potential, not at the level or Jimmie or the guys there, but to have a reasonable pace and performance that I can enjoy.
“I will be more curious to see Jimmie from the outside braking before Turn 1 the first lap.”
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November 10, 2018 at 01:57AM