Fernando Alonso believes a lack of power due to the Balance of Performance regulations is hurting his No.23 United Autosports car’s chances of progress in the Rolex 24.
The Spaniard started the race at Daytona and completed three stints in the opening two hours before handing over to Phil Hanson. Alonso was leading when he brought the car into the pits, with Hanson emerging in tenth place, and while he was happy to remain on the lead lap the McLaren F1 driver had a familiar complaint when it came to the car’s weaknesses.
“Obviously we had some calculations and we thought that it was tight to be on the lead lap after the first three stints but we managed to do so,” Alonso said. “So happy with that and we’ll see if we can keep the lead lap as long as possible. It was so-so, my first time experiencing the traffic with the other prototypes to check some BoPs and things that we didn’t have the opportunity to in the previous sessions.
“A little bit disappointed in a way because running with the other prototypes I think the BoP will be hard for us to overtake any of the prototypes. They seem to have a little bit too much power compared to us, and that will be a shame if we are fighting at the end of the race. But we will try to compensate with good strategy, a clean and clear race and some traffic management.”
Despite the power concerns – something he faced for the past three years with McLaren-Honda in F1 – Alonso was pleased with the handling of the No.23 at the start of his first 24-hour race.
“So far so good; we didn’t have any big issues in these first three or four stints. The car behaves the same as last practice or even a little bit better. We had some issues with rear grip and that maybe felt a little bit better. There was some good action and some movement in the first couple of laps with the other prototypes and then some traffic when we had to discover how everything would go.
“I am quite happy with the first three stints and we’ll see how the race develops. It’s a long time to the checkered flag, I think we need to keep working on the set-up stint after stint, improving the car, and we’ll see what happens.”
RACER.com’s coverage of the Rolex 24 At Daytona is presented by Forgeline Motorsports, manufacturers of custom made-to-order lightweight forged aluminum street and racing performance wheels.