Unrealistic to Expect Alonso to Fight for Victory at Daytona - Brown

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McLaren driver Alonso missed last year's Monaco Grand Prix in order to race in the Indy 500, and the Spaniard has returned to America to join Phil Hanson and Lando Norris in racing the Ligier JS P217 in the prestigious event.

The #23 United Ligier led a total of eight laps during the race before the first of its brake issues as varying pitstop strategies played out at the front.

"This year I have the chance thanks to McLaren to race for the win at Le Mans".

"[Daytona is] a very nice event, very nice driving this auto", Alonso said, before detailing some of the new things he learned in sports vehicle racing after spending his career to date in single-seaters. So that always gives you confidence... So let's see what happens. "As I said, I experienced things the whole event that was new for me, and next time I jump in a prototype vehicle, closed cockpit, I know what is the feeling".

Alonso added: "Despite the issues we had, I have a good taste in my mouth as I learned how to cope with the fatigue, traffic management, full course yellows, night driving, driver change procedures, driving preparation between the stints like how much rest you need to have and the amount of time you need to allow in the garage before taking over the vehicle again".

"So that's one of the goals for this event".

Facilitated by problems for other drivers, Hanson had got the crew into contention for the top five, but a right-rear puncture stymied progress, forcing him into an unscheduled pit stop for repairs.

However, Norris' charge ultimately proved fruitless; Alonso suffered a major brake problem, consigning the auto to the pits for lengthy repairs.

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The sister auto of former F1 drivers Paul di Resta, Bruno Senna and Hugo de Sadeleer finished fourth.

Having been introduced to the spectators in attendance at the "roval" circuit, Alonso walked to the grid flanked by Brown, as the team prepared its two cars for the 24-hour assault.

It then suffered a throttle problem and another brake failure - again with Alonso driving - and the vehicle eventually finished 36th.

Former Sauber driver Felipe Nasr had a very strong race in the No.31 Cadillac, finishing on the podium in second behind the winning Cadillac team of Joao Barbosa, Felipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi, nephew of two-time World Champion and Indy 500 victor, Emmerson. As I said many times, I would like to do it.

"My deal to race in WEC was only made possible through the good understanding and strong relationship I have with McLaren, and I'm very happy that they listened and understood what this means to me".

"And yeah, instead of being on the bicycle or in the gym, you know, you are driving".

He said Norris, who is racing in Formula 2 this season, had been "very impressive", adding: "On slicks in wet conditions he recovered something like 33 seconds in 20 laps (to the leaders)".