The Spanish former Formula One world champion's campaign in Florida was derailed by mechanical problems that included two brake failures in his United AutosportsLigier JS P217.
Both teams' respective second cars, featuring current Formula 1 stars, hit trouble.
And he said a return to Daytona in 2019 is probable, as he can prepare for F1 at the wheel of a racing auto "much better" than in the gym or on a bike. A lot of traffic, but when you are a prototype auto you get a lot of overtaking manoeuvres.
Alonso, Lando Norris and Phil Hanson came 38th overall as Action Express recorded a 1-2, with the Mustang Sampling Cadillac trio of Filipe Albuquerque, Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa claiming victory with a record total of 808 laps.
Before the issues crept up, Alonso had been running well. After suffering a punctured right-rear tire, one of a number of teams to suffer tire problems during the race, the vehicle began to suffer from brake problems, forcing Alonso into the pits unexpectedly and eventually into the garage for repairs. Meanwhile the No 32 crew continued to set consistent times with clean laps and lay an excellent third at mid-distance having quietly but efficiently moved up the leaderboard.
But the vehicle slipped from contention when Hanson suffered a puncture later in the night. The team decided that as the No 23 could not gain any further places in the final 75mins, a decision was made to park the Ligier until the final laps to save the vehicle from unnecessary additional wear and tear. "That's a very good feeling, driving 24 hours". Crucial data concerning the new front aerodynamics being raced on the Ligiers for the first time will prove invaluable for the remainder of United's season - both in the US and Europe.
The United Autosports team spent about 40 minutes changing the master cylinder of the brakes. "We've had an awesome week at Daytona".
Following a private test run at MotorLand Aragon, and the traditional Roar Before the 24 test, Alonso was entrusted with duties in qualifying, and put the Ligier PS217 into 13th place on the grid... "All of our drivers excelled and thoroughly enjoyed themselves". "Top speed, handling, drivability and tyre management was all really good".
"I didn't ask exactly what the problem was, but they've been racing with this auto all a year ago". "So I will be much more prepared [for] the practice, the race, driver changes, communication, driver preparation between the teams, how much rest you need to have". The team wound up returning to the garage a couple more times for brake and throttle issues, and Alonso stepped out of the vehicle with it in 20th place, 50 laps down. We entered the race with no high hopes because we were never competitive. I know safety cars. "Next time I jump in a prototype vehicle, closed cockpit, I know the traffic situations, night driving, safety auto". Now I think I can drive prototype cars at a higher level than two weeks ago, as I now know things I didn't know 24 hours ago.
"United Autosports did an wonderful job".
"In Formula One, tires don't allow us to push the whole race", Stroll said. "Then we had a throttle issue and then again a brake issue". So I really enjoyed. I made up ground but I had no clue what position I was in, I certainly didn't think I was near P1. It was one of my stints, it was very nice being on-track at that time.
"How much you need to be in the garage, how much focus you need to have in the race and how to get ready to jump in the vehicle - sometimes when you expect and sometimes when the engineer tells you time to go [was new]". As I said many times, I would like to do it. We had some ups and downs with the auto that cost us time, some just plain bad luck plus some mechanical issues that probably ultimately cost us a podium. Many teams had tire issues throughout the race.
"We were never going to be the fastest vehicle out there so our aim was to be tidy and consistent", added Senna. "You get in the vehicle, get out of the auto, interviews, press conference". We tried to be safe when we switched back to slicks.
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