Considered part of the Triple Crown of Motorsport, alongside the F1 Monaco Grand Prix and the 24 hours of Le Mans, the Indianapolis 500 is one of the biggest annual sporting events on the planet.
However, this year, the event is attracting even more attention than usual, due to the involvement of one man - Fernando Alonso.
The double Formula One world champion is venturing into the unknown later this month to compete in the race in a McLaren-Andretti Autosport entry powered by Honda.
While the 35-year-old will return to Europe for his home Grand Prix in Barcelona next week, most of this month will be spent getting the Spaniard up to speed with the nature of American Championship Car racing as he seeks a debut victory in Indianapolis.
This week, the excitement levels of motorsport fans have been cranked up as Alonso completed his mandatory Rookie Orientation Programme (ROP) as the start of his preparations for May 28.
In a forward thinking move, the respective authorities cleared Alonso’s testing to be broadcast live on both Facebook and YouTube, where it received a cumulative total of over two million views.
In his orange no.29 car, Alonso had the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to himself as he worked through the various phases of the ROP.
After completing 110 laps of the oval venue, he is now officially authorised to compete at the event.
It is clear that despite his inexperience, the F1 great will have a huge support base behind him when he eventually takes to the track.
Check out Alonso’s own reactions to his first official involvement in IndyCar racing with his series of Instagram posts below.
As you can tell, even Alonso couldn't believe how many viewers watched his testing. The message he posted in Spanish translates to: "More than 2 million viewers yesterday for a test ... of a car ... online ... not bad. Thank you always for the support! # Hobby #grateful."
It is clear that Alonso is enjoying himself, and why wouldn't he be.
McLaren have had a terrible start to the 2017 Formula 1 season, so no doubt the Spaniard is just happy to get away from the car for the time being.
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