Brown wants Alonso to race for McLaren outside F1

Image by Michael Levitt/LAT

Brown wants Alonso to race for McLaren outside F1

Formula 1

Brown wants Alonso to race for McLaren outside F1

McLaren chief executive Zak Brown wants Fernando Alonso to lead any future attempts for his team to expand into IndyCar or the World Endurance Championship.

Alonso drove for McLaren when the team made a one-off appearance at last year’s Indy 500, and this year is competing in the WEC for Toyota as part of his attempts to win the Triple Crown. While Formula 1 has seen McLaren unable to provide Alonso with a car capable of finishing on the podium since he returned to the team in 2015, Brown (pictured at left with Alonso at Indy last year) is hopeful any other categories would be attractive to the Spaniard.

“We’d like to have Fernando in our racing team for as long as he wants to drive,” Brown said. “I think he’ll continue driving beyond his Formula 1 career, and so if we’re in other forms of motor racing, then of course we’d love to have Fernando in our car.”

McLaren’s 1995 Le Mans-winning F1 GTR, driven by J.J. Lehto/Yannick Dalmas/Masanori Sekiya. (Image by LAT archive)

While Brown has been open about his desire to expand McLaren’s racing activities, a planned budget cap in F1 has increased the possibility of a move into IndyCar in the near future, and he admits the WEC is also attractive.

“McLaren has a long history in additional forms of motorsport whether that was Can-Am, IndyCar, we’ve won Le Mans, and so that is something with the new regulations coming out for World Endurance (Championship) we’re participating in those meetings and reviewing what that looks like.

“We’re a fan of the Le Mans brand. We did the Indy 500 last year. That’s something that in the right circumstances… North America is an important market for us and we’re a fan of IndyCar racing so as we look at the budget cap and how do you manage that, looking at additional forms of racing is something that we’re considering.”

While the next set of WEC regulations have yet to be finalized, Brown says it is likely McLaren will enter in the future given the direction the category is taking.

“Yeah, the rules as they’re being proposed we find compelling,” he said. “We would consider running the new whatever they’re going to call it — GTP, Silhouette, LMP1 — I’ve heard various phrases. But I think what’s exciting is trying to go to Le Mans to win outright. That’s the highest value for a racing team.”

-Chris Medland

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