Colton Herta is refusing to be awestruck by Fernando Alonso’s presence at this year’s Indianapolis 500, saying the two-time Formula 1 world champion is “coming into our playground” against the regular IndyCar grid.

Alonso will make his second appearance at the Indianapolis 500 next month as he bids to complete the ‘triple crown of motorsport’ by adding victory at the race to his successes at Monaco and Le Mans.

The 103rd running of the race will mark 19-year-old Herta’s Indy 500 debut, coming two months on from becoming the youngest winner in IndyCar history at the Circuit of The Americas.

Asked on Wednesday if he was “wowed” to be racing on the same grid as Alonso, Herta said that he simply saw the Spaniard as another driver he wanted to beat.

“Yeah, it's cool, but I don't see it that way, just because I have to beat him. I don't see it that way, no,” Herta said.

“Maybe if I was at a grand prix weekend, maybe a bit more. Not on these weekends, especially because he's kind of coming into my playground now, coming into our playground in America.

“If I was over in Rockingham, yes, it would be pretty cool, but it's different here.”

Herta completed the Rookie Orientation Programme for Harding Steinbrenner Racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday, finishing as the quickest rookie driver.

By comparison, Alonso failed to complete his ‘refresher’ programme as wet weather and an electrical issue on his car limited him to only 29 laps.

“It's definitely a slow process to get into it at first, to get situated,” Herta said of the ROP.

“You have a lot of time to do it, 15 laps for pretty much every stage. It’s plenty of time to get comfortable.

“That's what it was about today, getting comfortable with the car and that type of speed and moving forward from there.

“I always wanted to not only compete in the Indy 500, but win. It's such a nostalgic event, it's hard to put into words what it means to me and to a lot of the people that come to the race. Obviously, a bunch of history involved.

“If we can put our names into the history of the Indy 500, it would be incredible.”

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