Fernando Alonso is a living legend in the world of four wheels.
He has achieved pretty much everything in motorsports, including 97 podium finishes and a handful of titles. There is one achievement, though, that has eluded this master driver: the fabled Triple Crown. This is the unofficial Holy Grail of motorsports — wins at the Indianapolis 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Monaco Grand Prix — and only Britain’s Graham Hill can lay claim to it. But with Alonso winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans last June, he is now an Indianapolis 500 win away from joining Hill in ultra-elite company.
Next May, Alonso may just add the Triple Crown to his list of achievements. The 37-year-old Spaniard has confirmed that he will compete in the 103rd Indianapolis 500, with the hopes of completing the rare trio of wins. It will be Alonso’s second stint in the premier IndyCar Series event, with his first being in 2017, where he finished 29th. This time, McLaren’s main man will be gunning for a place in history, and he has made his intentions known this early: “I’ve made clear for some time my desire to achieve the Triple Crown,” Alonso announced. “I had an incredible experience at Indianapolis in 2017 and I knew in my heart of hearts I had to go back if the opportunity was there.”
Should Alonso win the and complete the Triple Crown, he will no doubt secure a spot in the pantheon of motorsports’ greatest. It will be a validation of Alonso’s mastery behind the wheel, and of his standing as one of the best ever in history. Just as important, it will also be undeniable proof that drivers can, indeed, excel in multiple disciplines.
But more than individual glory, Alonso finally winning the Triple Crown may just be the shot in the arm motorsports need to reclaim their fast fading relevance and prominence. The Indianapolis 500, the missing piece to Alonso’s Triple Crown dream, is particularly in need of a boost given its decline in popularity as noted by veteran driver Rick Mears. Attendance to live events and TV ratings are not what they used to be remarked Mears, even as he is optimistic that the sport is due for a renaissance. Alonso going for the Triple Crown again may help in that regard, as fans are always in search of compelling reasons to follow the sports they love. The opportunity to witness history qualifies as such, as is the chance to watch greatness unfolding in real time.
Even then, Alonso’s historic chase may not be enough to fully lift the Indianapolis 500 (and the entire IndyCar series, actually) and the rest of motorsports back to preeminent status. Motorsports stakeholders will have to figure out ways to not only connect to fans but make new ones, too. Taking full advantage of technology may be helpful in this regard. Formula 1 (F1), for instance, is already leveraging virtual reality to give fans new, more immersive, and more exciting experiences. The F1 team Williams is even giving fans a chance to be in a virtual cockpit via VR through a downloadable app. Another frontier worth exploring is mobile gaming, whose popularity has been soaring. Games inspired by motorsports can help win over fans from a new demographic that is by and large hooked on mobile games. The Motorsport Manager Mobile franchise is a prime example, as it gives gamers a realistic look at the intricacies of motorsports. Even non-traditional racing-related games can give fans access to the sport. Drive: Multiplier Mayhem by digital games provider Slot Source is a street racing-inspired title that lets gamers in on the fast-paced, high-octane world of racing, and it can be a fitting introduction to the bigger world of motorsports.
So, yes, Alonso’s Triple Crown chase matters. It is a quest that appeals to fans — an unquestioned great aiming for the stars once more. And in the grand scheme of things, it is a pursuit that can revitalise the flat-lining world of motorsports.