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Alonso Confirmed at Toyota for Le Mans, WEC Rounds

Fernando Alonso is confirmed at Toyota for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and select rounds of the WEC in 2018…

Photo: McLaren

Two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso will race for Toyota at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and three additional FIA World Endurance Championship rounds, it has been confirmed.

Alonso has been eager to race at Le Mans for a number of years as part of his pursuit to complete the ‘triple crown of motorsport’, requiring wins at the Circuit de la Sarthe and in the Indianapolis 500 to go with his pair of Monaco victories and emulate Graham Hill.

Alonso tested with the Japanese manufacturer following last year’s WEC season finale in Bahrain, enjoying a day in the Toyota TS050 Hybrid, and made his sports car debut in the Rolex 24 last weekend for United Autosports.

The McLaren F1 team announced on Tuesday it had given Alonso its blessing to race at both Le Mans and in the WEC in all rounds that do not clash with his grand prix commitments.

“McLaren has confirmed it will allow Fernando Alonso to compete in upcoming rounds of the World Endurance Championship, including this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, after reaching an agreement with both Fernando and Toyota Gazoo Racing,” the statement reads.

“McLaren and Fernando are in full agreement that Formula 1 remains their shared top priority. As such, Fernando will compete in every round of the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, and will dovetail his sports car commitments around grands prix.”

As a result, Alonso will miss the Six Hours of Fuji in October, as it clashes with the U.S. Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas.

“I’ve never been shy about my aim of winning motorsport’s ‘Triple Crown’ – the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indy 500, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. We tried for Indy last year, came close, but just missed out,” said Alonso.

“This year, I have the chance thanks to McLaren to race for the win at Le Mans. It is a big challenge – much can go wrong – but I am ready, prepared and looking forward to the fight.

“My deal to race in WEC was only made possible through the good understanding and strong relationship I have with McLaren, and I’m very happy that they listened and understood what this means to me.

“In no way will this challenge take away from my main target of Formula 1 with McLaren. In 2018, my aim is to be competitive at every grand prix, and I feel sure that we are closer to achieving that.”

Luke Smith is a British motorsport journalist who has served as NBC Sports’ lead Formula 1 writer since 2013, as well as working on its online sports car coverage.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Josh Gordon

    January 30, 2018 at 7:41 am

    What other races will he do?

    • Andy Flynn's ghost

      January 30, 2018 at 7:47 am

      I would assume all but Fuji, as the article states:

      As a result, Alonso will miss the Six Hours of Fuji in October, as it clashes with the U.S. Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas.

      And they have him as their third driver so I would assume all but Fuji for the SuperSeason.

    • Sham_Poser

      January 30, 2018 at 9:39 am

      In addition to Le Mans, I would assume it’s Spa, Silverstone, and Shanghai in 2018.
      If any appearances in the other three WEC “super season” races, scheduled for 2019, are being considered, that would likely have to wait to see if there would be any F1 conflicts.

      • N8

        January 30, 2018 at 12:18 pm

        Sebring is usually the week before Melbourne.

  2. MikeT66

    January 30, 2018 at 7:42 am

    Great news – a class driver and will hopefully draw some interest from the F1 fanbase. I definitely support the idea of a driver trying his hand in a few different disciplines like Jim Clarke, Graham Hill, John Surtees, etc.

  3. Harry Manback

    January 30, 2018 at 8:13 am

    United Autosports should have gone with a privateer entry (The ACO would have granted it considering who’s driving) – they would have had a better chance of winning, and more dignity doing so.

    • kpcart

      January 31, 2018 at 11:51 am

      more dignity for what you say is an easier chance of winning? wheres the dignity in that.

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