Unsurprisingly, McLaren boss Zak Brown is the mastermind behind Fernando Alonso’s shock deal to race at the upcoming Indianapolis 500.
According to Racer.com, Brown contacted Mark Miles, the CEO of Hulman & Company which owns the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in a bid to boost the races profile while also catering to Alonso’s ambition to race in the Indy 500.
“I got a call from Zak a couple of weeks ago,” Miles told Racer.com,
“And he wondered if we could put a Honda deal together so Fernando could run in this year’s Indy 500.
“I said we would move heaven and earth to make that happen,” he continued.
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“So I contacted some Honda teams and he contacted one, but we couldn’t find an engine. And then we got lucky.”
Mark Miles contacted Stefan Wilson, the brother of the late Justin Wilson, who was scheduled to run in the Indy 500. The IMS executive then convinced the Brit to give up his seat for Alonso, which he eventually accepted, much to his credit as Miles recalls.
“As much as he wanted to run the Speedway this year, he was looking out for the greater good of IndyCar,” said Miles. “Quite a gesture.”
- Video: Fernando Alonso and Zak Brown talk Indy 500
But Zak Brown still had to sell McLaren and Honda on the idea, which he also successfully accomplished.
“It’s an amazing story,” said Miles.
“Fernando wants to go for the Triple Crown and McLaren is returning after a 38-year absence and all that history.
“Alonso has never been on a superspeedway, but he’ll get a private test day at IMS and all that practice in May,” he added, “and Alexander Rossi showed a rookie could win last May.
“The heroes of this story are Alonso, Zak, Michael and Stefan, and I think it’s going to be a pretty cool story, and another great month of May.”
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