There's one very significant difference between Fernando Alonso's latest jaunt off the Formula 1 piste in this month's Daytona 24 Hours and his famous assault on last year's Indianapolis 500. Beyond, of course, Daytona featuring right turns as well as left.
Neither Alonso, nor anyone following the pre-Daytona 24 Hours test, dubbed 'The Roar Before the Rolex 24', that took place last weekend expects the Ligier-Nissan JSP217 he's driving to be as pacey a proposition as his Andretti Autosport-run IndyCar relative to the opposition. After all, the Andretti team was the quickest around Indy last May.
But regardless of whether the United Autosports Ligier he shares with McLaren protege Lando Norris and Asian Le Mans Series LMP3 champion Phil Hanson can emerge as a serious threat for victory on pace, or must rely on trying to 'stealth' its way to the front, Alonso's contribution will be one of the big stories of the race.
The bare facts of his outing in the Roar are as follows. During the three days of running, split into seven sessions and including a nebulous, but entertaining, 'qualifying' to decide pitbox and garage order, he completed a grand total of 64 laps of the 3.56-mile track. Alonso admitted he was a little surprised by how little track time he logged, which reflects more the schedule of the test than how the team used the time.
He did run in the 15-minute qualifying session on Saturday afternoon, posting the 12th fastest time. But this was 1.709s off the pacesetting Cadillac DPi of old F1 sparring partner Felipe Nasr - ominously, the four Cadillacs locked out the top four positions and set the pace in every session.
Outright pace is only part of the picture, albeit a bigger part of the endurance-racing equation than it once was. And Alonso's single-lap pace is a given.
"With drivers like Fernando and Lando, in terms of pure speed we know where they are," says Gautier Bouteiller, race engineer of the #23 Ligier. "But single-lap performance doesn't really matter to me. What I want is consistency over the stint, no mistakes, respecting the procedures, working on the fuel economy.
"To be able to fight in the last two hours of the race, that's what matters and that's clearly part of the programme we went through."
Consistency is dependent on traffic management, and that's the great unknown for Alonso heading into the Daytona 24 Hours. After logging 13 laps during the sole night session on Saturday night, Alonso reported no problems given the significant illumination at Daytona, which has none of the dark spots of a circuit like Le Mans. So that box is ticked.
Traffic is the bigger problem. Alonso knows how to overtake, obviously, but what he cannot shortcut is knowledge of rival drivers. With 50 cars, each running at least three drivers, knowing who can be relied upon to co-operate is one area where he can't hold a candle to the IMSA regulars.
But traffic management was a focus for all three drivers, with Alonso in particular able to make progress in learning where to pass, where not to pass - and crucially what passing places might be on when the stakes are at their highest late on. At Indy, traffic management was crucial and Alonso excelled even though we never got to see him in the final cut-and-thrust of the race. In a very different environment, that will also be his biggest test at Daytona.
"Traffic is clearly new to him and it's really important in the US," says Bouteiller. "Most of the time, if you are able to stay on the lead lap and fight at the final restart, that's where you can make the difference being strong through the traffic.
"We had planned a longer run for each of them [on Sunday morning], but Fernando's run was cut by three red flags, so that's bad luck.
"But when going for a longer run the focus was to identify the places where it's possible to overtake the GTDs and GTLM cars, try different places - 'here I can overtake and it's easy, here I can do it but it's a bit risky so do it less in the early part of the race'. They learned quite a lot while setting a good lap without traffic."
Alonso certainly acquitted himself well, and while he did use the word 'afraid' of his initial approach to lapping the slower cars any trepidation was swiftly eliminated. And this was not really fear, what he really means is respect for the challenge.
"He's an intimidating individual in terms of who he is, especially if you get into a team that is not used to having a two-time world champion in the car" Zak Brown
Just as at Indy, Alonso stressed the fact he had a lot to learn and that his primary objective was to finish the Daytona 24 Hours, which takes place on January 27-28, a better driver than he started it. One of his great strengths is identifying the known unknowns, to coin a phrase, which lesser drivers would be blasé about and potentially trip over.
He also took well to working with his team-mates, recognising that there's performance to be found in helping get them up to speed. And while Alonso was the quickest of the three, Norris's best was a 1m37.888s without participating in qualifying, while the improving Hanson posted a 1m38.796s.
You wouldn't blame those in the team for being a little nervous at working with someone like Alonso, a driver shrouded in myth and with a reputation for being difficult inside teams. But just as at Indy, his approach was impeccable.
"He's an intimidating individual in terms of who he is, especially if you get into a team like United Autosports that is not used to having a two-time world champion in the car" says Zak Brown, at Daytona wearing two hats as Alonso's boss at McLaren, and the co-owner of United.
"It brings with it the fact that you don't want to be the guy on the team who forgets the lugnut or makes a mistake. But everyone's enjoyed working with him, he doesn't come here and say, 'Well in Formula 1 we do this...'
"He knows this is a different type of racing, so doesn't look at the garage and be critical. That's what's brilliant about him, he's not pretentious at all."
Performance-wise, that Alonso will be strong is a given. Even among high-calibre endurance specialists, he will be able to hold his own and the main question is how he responds to the cut-and-thrust in traffic when it really matters. That's where experience, and specialism, will really tell.
But what will play a far bigger part in what result he can get at Daytona is how competitive the car is. And that's where things become more difficult, as the man himself admitted after the test.
The Ligier JSP217 was introduced last year, and it's not well suited to a track like Daytona. With very long flat-out straights the track is a 'roval' in the truest sense, comprising two long blasts along the 31-degree banking, one infield section and a brisk chicane on the backstretch.
This is not perfect Ligier territory, and it's no coincidence that United's two outright victories in the European Le Mans Series last season came at high-downforce, high-speed Silverstone and Red Bull Ring. At Daytona, the Ligier was typically 2-3mph off in the speed trap.
There's nothing United can do about the fundamental characteristics of the car, but there was some hope. Ligier has played its 'joker', allowing it to introduce an upgrade package. Most significant is the revised front end, which United put on the car for the second session having received it relatively late thanks to how early in the year the Roar is held.
The front end offers more downforce and the car overall is supposedly more aero efficient. As well as getting its three Daytona virgins up to speed, United also had to work on that and try and understand the Continental tyres used in IMSA.
The Continentals require a more aggressive approach to warm-up than the Dunlops United is used to - doubly so given the bitterly cold temperatures on the first two days of the Roar in particular - and also have a less stiff sidewall. That means they are more forgiving, but require set-up adaptation.
"The Roar is a difficult event because it's the first of the season," says Bouteiller. "When we have updates the first time we are running they are usually quite late, so there's a lot of things to discover and a big test programme to go through.
United ended the test in relatively good spirits having taken a few, understandable, wrong turns over the three days while working to get on top of the car. There's still reckoned to be performance to be unlocked
"United came here a few years ago [in 2011, in partnership with Michael Shank Racing], but with this new LMP2 machinery it's their first time in the US so the approach to the weekend is different.
"The tyres are different to what we are used to. We have top drivers, but while Phil is used to sportscars he has no experience in the US. For Fernando and Lando, it's different because they have no sportscar experience.
"So if you put everything in the loop we have to go through the new updates on the car while they discover all the routines, all the procedures, in IMSA. It's quite a big test programme and there have been some ups and downs, but we have collected a lot of data.
"We made good progress and in the next two weeks there's quite a lot of things to be analysed to get up to speed for the race weekend."
United ended the test in relatively good spirits having taken a few, understandable, wrong turns over the three days while working to get on top of the car. There's still reckoned to be performance to be unlocked, although the team is insistent that it delivered close to its maximum potential in the 'qualifying' session.
The team, and Alonso, will put in all the work required to get the most out of the car come the race itself, but there's still one imponderable. This is sportscar racing, of course, so Balance of Performance comes into play.
The LMP2 balance of performance is set, so the performance of the Ligier relative to the six ORECAs it is up against will remain unchanged. But the so-called DPi cars - the pacesetting Cadillacs, the Nissans run by Extreme Speed Motorsports, the Joest-run Mazdas and the rapid-looking Penske Acuras - could be subject to change.
While the DPis and the LMP2s compete on equal footing, and the DPis are themselves nothing more than LMP2 cars clothed with aero kits, there is a feeling that perhaps the DPis have a fractional advantage in general.
The Cadillacs could find themselves on the wrong end of an adjustment, especially as they are now running the new 5.5-litre engine that could warrant a change now more data has been built up on their performance profile. If that's the case, it could help the Ligier.
So a few tenths there, on top of what the team can further exploit in the car set-up and tyres - and there's more to be found - means that the United Ligier could be a little better off come the race itself.
The ultimate potential of the car is unclear, save for saying that it's not going to be setting the pace come the Daytona 24 Hours itself. But as to whether United, and Alonso, can get it close enough to be in the game will depend a lot on what happens over the next two weeks.