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WTR Confirms Alonso, Kobayashi in Rolex 24 Lineup

Wayne Taylor Racing announces Alonso, Kobayashi with full-season drivers for Rolex 24…

Photo: MPS Agency

Wayne Taylor Racing has confirmed that Fernando Alonso and Kamui Kobayashi will join full-time drivers Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande in its lineup for January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The quartet will drive the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship opener on Jan. 26-27.

Alonso and Kobayashi’s confirmation comes after Monday’s reveal that the Toyota LMP1 stars and ex-Formula 1 drivers were both in the process of finalizing deals with the team.

Two-time F1 world champion Alonso finished 13th in class in his Rolex 24 debut earlier this year, driving a Ligier JS P217 Gibson run by United Autosports.

Kobayashi, meanwhile, is set to make his debut in the Florida long-distance classic having previously raced at the Le Mans and Spa 24-hour enduros.

“First, I have to thank Konica Minolta for yet again supporting WTR, and that I am extremely excited to have added Fernando Alonso and Kamui Kobayashi as team-mates for Jordan and Renger at Daytona,” said team owner Wayne Taylor.

“Both Fernando and Kamui are the cream of the crop of world-class driving talent, not only in F1 but as current sports car drivers.

“It’s taken a long time to put this all together and I’d like to thank everybody who made it all happen.”

Taylor said they have plans to integrate both drivers into its program “very efficiently and successfully” while Alonso said he’s looking forward to the prospects of fighting for the overall win this time around.

“I made my debut last year both in endurance races and with these sports car prototypes, as well as on this track,” Alonso said. “I was left wanting much more after a brake issue ended our hopes of stepping on the podium.

“After an intense year in which I’ve competed in both Formula One and the WEC, I’m really looking forward to 2019 and attempting to conquer one of the most important races in the world.

“I’m brimming with hunger and desire and I can’t wait for the first race of next season and going out on track to battle with my Konica Minolta Cadillac teammates.”

Van der Zande qualified the No. 10 Cadillac on pole for this year’s Rolex 24, although the WTR entry he shared with Taylor and Ryan Hunter-Reay ultimately retired from the race.

The Dutchman currently races against Alonso and Kobayashi in the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for DragonSpeed.

Van der Zande and Taylor will embark on a second year as co-drivers after a run to third in the 2018 Prototype standings that included a victory in the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans last month.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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