On Saturday, June 14, Formula 1 Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso was on hand at Le Mans, France to start the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2014 endurance race. Alonso waved the French flag, starting the race at approximately 3 p.m. local time. According to NBC Sports, this makes him the first active professional racing driver to officially start the iconic race.
Also according to NBC Sports, Alonso is interested in racing Le Mans one day having now made his first trip to the famous French event.
"Well I’m the first time here for me, so it’s a completely new experience, and try to enjoy this weekend that I’m not in the car, and let these guys compete," he said in an interview with Eurosport on the grid prior to the race.
Would he like to join fellow Formula 1 drivers, like his former colleague Mark Webber who drives for Porsche in the 2014 contest, in taking on the 24-hour challenge?
Alonso said, "It’s a race that’s very attractive for all of the drivers; it’s very prestigious, so yes, I think one day before later I’ll come here."
Speaking with BBC's pit reporter Tom Clarkson, however, he said he has no plans to retire from Formula 1 racing any time soon.
In addition to officially starting the race for all four groups of cars, Alonso drove a historic/vintage Ferrari to the excitement of the crowd as part of the event's activities.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans 2014 runs June 14 to 15.
The next Formula 1 race will be the Austrian Grand Prix on June 22.
Alonso, a two-time World Champion Formula 1 driver, is currently fourth in the 2014 championship with 69 points. His team Ferrari sits at third with 87.