Fernando Alonso to race in 2019 Indianapolis 500 with McLaren

Fernando Alonso is set to race in his second Indianapolis 500 next year in conjunction with his Formula One team, McLaren Racing.

Alonso again said on Saturday he wants to be the second driver in history to win the unofficial triple crown of motorsport with a victory at the historic American speedway.

"I've made clear for some time my desire to achieve the triple crown,'' Alonso said. "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.''

The only driver to win all three races of the triple crown was Graham Hill of Britain, who won the Formula One race at Monaco in 1963, the Indy 500 in 1966, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1972.

Alonso won at Monaco in 2006 and '07 and won in his debut at Le Mans in June.

Alonso competed at Indy in '17 in a collaboration between McLaren and Andretti Autosport. Alonso qualified fifth for that year's race and had a competitive car before an engine failure ended his day.

He told reporters Saturday that his debut Indy appearance was the greatest race he had ever been part of.

"I am especially glad to be returning with McLaren," Alonso said in a statement. "This was always my first choice if the team decided to do it, so I'm delighted they have decided to go ahead. It's a tough race and we'll be up against the best, so it will be a huge challenge. But we're racers and that's why we race. One of the things I'm looking forward to most is seeing the fans again, who are absolutely fantastic."

McLaren and Alonso had flirted with running a full IndyCar schedule in 2019 but announced in October that they would not do so.

"We are relishing our return to the Brickyard and this incredible race," McLaren CEO Zak Brown said in a statement. "McLaren has a long and fond relationship with the Indianapolis 500 and it's a case of unfinished business for us with Fernando. No Indy 500 is a cakewalk, it's a massive challenge. We have the utmost respect for the race and our competitors. So, we are under no illusions. But McLaren are racers first and foremost, as is Fernando. We're going for it."

Brown said McLaren's return to the Indy 500 will not detract from its Formula One goals.

Alonso sits 10th in the Formula One standings. His best result of the year was a fifth-place finish at the Australian Grand Prix in March.

Information from ESPN's Nate Saunders and The Associated Press was used in this report.