Alonso: "It's going to be a privilege for me to drive a NASCAR car"
Formula 1 star Fernando Alonso says he is looking forward to the ride swap with a “legend” like seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, but wouldn’t say whether he might race one in future.
Fernando Alonso, who is at Interlagos for the penultimate race on the F1 schedule in Brazil, took part in a press conference Friday at Phoenix via Skype as both drivers discussed their upcoming ride swap at Bahrain.
“I will probably have the best information coming from Jimmie as I said and some tips and recommendations with the team,” Alonso said. “So, yeah, I’m really curious, obviously it’s going to be a privilege for me to drive a NASCAR car for the test time with a legend alongside me.
“I’m looking forward. It’s exciting.”
After stopping off at McLaren’s headquarters in London, Johnson will spend time in a F1 simulator before joining Alonso at the Abu Dhabi season finale.
Members of Johnson’s No. 48 team will be matched with their counterparts on Alonso’s team for a couple days before departing for Bahrain, where they will set up one of Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolets for Alonso.
On Nov. 26, Johnson and Alonso will spend as much time as each wants racing each other’s car on the Bahrain International Circuit.
Asked what he would be looking to get out of the ride swap, Alonso said, “Well the first thing I think is going to be to have fun. 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 repercussion that NASCAR has in the world of motorsports for me the first thing that I want to experience and I want to have that opportunity in life and it’s happening now in a couple of weeks’ time.
“I think 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.”
Competing in NASCAR in the future?
Before discussing whether he would be interested in competing in a NASCAR event, Alonso said he wants to test the car first.
“To see how it feels, to see how enjoyable it is to drive it, and who knows in the future?” he said. “I don’t have a key answer to that question.”
Alonso, 37, was also quizzed on how NASCAR is perceived outside of the United States.
“I think we have a lot of respect for NASCAR. We are not probably into the details of the races and the regulations and all this with the playoffs and all these things that we maybe are not up to date, but we see NASCAR as a top of motorsports in the U.S. and that means a lot,” he said.
“We are all aware that in motorsports that it is one of the top series and legends like Jimmie they are made there in NASCAR.”
Alonso’s Formula 1 career has gone 17 full-time seasons, but he will move on to other ventures after the 2018 season. Along with 32 career wins that included two victories in the Monaco Grand Prix, he also claimed the World Championship in both 2005 and 2006.
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