- Title: Alonso confident ahead of Indy debut
- Date: 23rd May 2017
- Summary: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (MAY 23, 2017) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMULA ONE CHAMPION AND INDY 500 DRIVER, FERNANDO ALONSO, SAYING: "Indy 500, Monaco (Grand Prix) and 24 Hours of Le Mans are legendary races and will be always on top of motor sport. So, these three big things, you know, is what any racing driver should experience at least once in their career. And I, you know I feel very privileged to be this year here."
- Embargoed: 6th June 2017 21:21
- Keywords: debut Spanish rookie Formula One Indianapolis 500 Fernando Alonso
- Location: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, AND INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, UNITED STATES
- City: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, AND INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Motor Racing,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA0066I2AI4F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso, told Reuters on Tuesday (May 23) he was entering this weekend's Indy 500 with an "open mind", just as able to win as any other driver, but cognizant of his lack of experience.
The rookie Spaniard will make his Indy debut from the second row in fifth position in the #29 McLaren Honda Andretti car.
"I think anyone can win the Indy 500 of the 33 drivers because it's an unpredictable race, and everything has to come in your way to win that race. It's not a plan that you can think in advance," Alonso said.
A lack of reps may cost him in the biggest day of U.S. racing when the champion will be crowned after 200 laps of the massive 2.5-mile oval, but Alonso is geared up for the chance.
Alonso took leave of the F1 circuit to train on simulators, practice on the oval and pick the brains of his Andretti Motor Sports team mates in a cram-course on driving at the fabled Brickyard.
While Alonso passed the entrance exam with flying colors, the 35-year-old Spaniard knows the hardest test is yet to come, but he said he wanted to "live the moment".
Eight rookies have won the Indianapolis 500. The most recent was Helio Castroneves in 2001.
Alonso said he felt privileged to add the Indy 500 to his already storied career.
"Indy 500, Monaco (Grand Prix) and 24 Hours of Le Mans are legendary races and will be always on top of motor sport. So these three big things, you know, is what any racing driver should experience at least once in their career," he said.
"The prestige, the size of their event, you know, two weeks event - it's some kind of an amazing thing. And then on Sunday, when the race time arrives, 300,000 people, 400,000 people in a sport event is something that has no comparison to any other sport event in the world. So, even the Olympic Games, or the Super Bowl cannot put 400,000 people in one place on one Sunday," Alonso said.
The first Indy 500 was run on May 30, 1911 and won by Ray Harroun, who retired from driving immediately after the race.
The 101st running is scheduled for Sunday, May 28 at 11:00 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT) on the U.S. network ABC.
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