Alonso confident in “strong team” for Rolex 24 at Daytona
Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso has expressed his belief in the Wayne Taylor Racing team and the driver lineup, following three days of testing at Daytona International Speedway.
Both Alonso and fellow F1 exile Kamui Kobayashi have joined WTR, sharing the 2017 Rolex 24 winners’ Cadillac DPi-V.R with Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande.
From Friday through Sunday last week, the team participated in the now-traditional official test, the Roar Before the Rolex 24, and Taylor commended his part-time teammates on adapting well to the Cadillac and WTR.
Alonso himself was also pleased with progress throughout the test, that twice saw the #10 WTR Cadillac finish a session on top.
“Everything went fine, quite a smooth weekend of testing,” said Alonso, who made his Rolex 24 debut with United Autosports last year. “It was the first time for me with the Cadillac and with the team. I got seat-fitted into the car, I went through all the philosophy that the Konica Minolta Cadillac team has and it was quite smooth.
“Great team, great people, and I felt quite happy in the car and with the balance of the car right from the beginning. I knew the track from last year, so I had that advantage. It was just full concentration on how the team works and how the team wanted to get through the test.
“I think we made some improvements in the car. We learned a couple of things that we can put in place for the Rolex 24.
“We have a strong team – all the drivers have enough experience and enough speed, hopefully, to run consistently fast.”
Alonso, who conquered last year’s Le Mans 24 Hours with the Toyota LMP1 team, acknowledged that he had a realistic outlook for Daytona, however strong WTR appears to be.
“It’s a very long race and everything has to go your way,” he said. “A lot of different factors determine who wins these long races.
“On our side, we just have to keep the concentration high, execute the race the best we can, and help the team with our feedback and with our care for the car over the 24 hours.”
Kobayashi expecting to win
Kobayashi, who has twice finished second at Le Mans with Toyota, echoed his teammate’s sentiments regarding faith in the team, but was more bullish.
“As we expected, I think the team worked very well together,” he commented. “We know what we have to do.
“I think we all have enough experience for this type of race. We just collaborate with our experience to bring each other up to speed.
“I think overall we see some positive things. Some things went really well and we worked well together. This was my first test with the team so we’re off to a good start.
“We have some homework to do to come back even stronger. We have room for more with the 24-hour race. Our expectation is to win the race.
“I feel really happy being here and very proud to drive for this team. I think we enjoy and know each other well, we communicated well.
“The track is pretty amazing, especially the banking – it’s quite amazing. I’m always looking for new stuff that is exciting in motorsports and obviously this track is one of those kinds of things.”
Alonso, Kobayashi “fit in really well” at WTR, says Taylor
Corvette needs more work to target Rolex 24 win - Magnussen