Britain’s Lando Norris will chalk up a number of “firsts” next weekend (27-28 Jan). McLaren F1’s official test and reserve driver for 2018 will race in North America, at the wheel of a sports-prototype, share a race car with other drivers and competes in a 24-hour race – all for the very first time.
The 18-year-old reigning FIA Formula 3 European Champion contests his maiden race for Anglo-American team United Autosports by making his début in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Additionally, the BRDC SuperStar is one of the youngest drivers in this year’s 50-car, 180-driver entry.
Norris shares a Ligier JS P217 with former double F1 World Champion and McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso plus 2016-17 Asian Le Mans Series LMP3 champion Phil Hanson. The twice-around-the-clock race will mark the first time Norris will have competed with a roof over his head since racing a Ginetta in 2014. Lando is using the Daytona event to remain race sharp and in top physical condition in preparation for his maiden FIA Formula 2 Championship campaign with Carlin which gets underway in Bahrain in April.
Lando first drove the French-built Ligier last November, clocking up 200-miles and impressing in a two-day test at Paul Ricard. He recorded almost 270-miles behind the wheel when he attended an official three-day test at the 3.56-mile, 12-turn Daytona International Speedway comprising of the famed DIS “banked oval” plus infield section earlier this month. The 56th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona in Florida starts on Saturday at 2.40pm (local).
"I'm excited to be racing in the Rolex 24, tackling my first endurance race is something I can't wait to do. It's all new for me, as it's the first time I'll be competing in a multi-class race with cars that have different speed and braking performances while I haven't had a roof over my head since I raced in Ginettas. Visiting Daytona for the first time, and getting out on track was a pretty cool experience. The Roar test was great to get a feel for the car and learn more about the aero, tyres and strategy for the race. Plus the track offers some really steep banking, which is so different from what I'm used to. I'm lucky to be able to race with a great team such as United, so the test allowed me to get to know the guys, along with my team-mates Phil and Fernando. The performance wasn't quite what we were hoping for but everyone's been working flat out ahead of the race and hopefully we'll be able to improve the pace. I just can't wait to get back to Daytona!”