United Autosports was forced to make quick repairs to the No. 23 Ligier JSP217 after an incident in Thursday’s opening practice session for the Rolex 24.
Phil Hanson found himself quickly building confidence in his early laps. Suddenly, the car snapped around in Turn 5 and went head-first into a tire barrier.
Fortunately, the car to be co-driven by Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris was repaired as the team replaced the complete front-end section along with the steering rack and components. It will be ready for the second practice, which begins at 1:40 p.m. ET.
“Just a bit too confident in the opening laps,” Hanson said. “It was my second flying lap in the infield. Turn 5 is notorious for the bumps, and I was a bit too optimistic on how late I could brake, and unfortunately we had lock-up. There isn’t much runoff – characteristic of American tracks – and I went into the grass. With it being a little damp, it picked up a little speed and went head-first into the barrier. It was a slow impact, but that didn’t make any difference. It still did a little bit of damage, which put us out for the rest of the session. But we’ll be good for the next test.”
Following the opening session, Alonso expressed confidence in his teammate.
“I think there is not much to teach guys like Lando [Norris] and Phil with the level of knowledge they have and the experience they have,” Alonso said. “There’s not much to teach them on the driving side. Probably outside the car in all the commitments we have and the mood we have to enter into every session and every race perhaps there is more experience on my side.
“But to be honest in all the sessions we did so far and even the first laps in the car today, we try to put Phil in the car because he has more experience than us and he will be able to feel the changes in the car probably better than Lando and myself,” Alonso added. “It’s teamwork, and we try to learn from each other but at the same time try to take care of each other.”