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Alonso: ’50/50 Chance’ of Le Mans Debut in 2018

Fernando Alonso says there is a “50/50 chance” he will race at Le Mans this year…

Photo: Jakob Ebrey/United Autosports

Fernando Alonso says there is a “50/50 chance” of him making his debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year, amid speculation of a possible deal with Toyota.

The two-time Formula 1 world champion will take his first step towards a Le Mans debut this weekend when he enters his first sports car racing, joining up with United Autosports for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Alonso has been linked with a Toyota LMP1 drive for this year’s race at Le Mans, and potentially a wider FIA World Endurance Championship program, after testing for the Japanese manufacturer in Bahrain last November.

Asked about the state of play with his Le Mans entry for 2018, Alonso said that while he is hopeful of making his debut at the Circuit de la Sarthe, he could give no firm guarantee at the moment.

“It’s no secret that I would like to race at Le Mans in the future. If it’s this year or not this year, I’m still not 100 percent sure,” Alonso said.

“It could happen, yes. [It’s] 50/50. There are many things that you need to put together to make it happen, and we are trying to do everything we can.

“Hopefully yes is the answer, but whether it will be yes or not, you will all know at the same time as I do.”

Alonso is eager to race at Le Mans in the future as part of his bid to become just the second driver in history to complete the ‘triple crown of motorsport’, achieved by winning the Le Mans, the Indianapolis 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix.

He has won twice at Monaco and made his first Indy 500 appearance last year, and has been given the freedom to enter Le Mans this year should he wish by McLaren as it does not clash with an F1 race weekend, falling betweens grands prix in Canada and France.

Toyota is set to confirm its driver plans for the 2018/19 WEC ‘super season’ next month, with uncertainty regarding Jose Maria Lopez’s program future potentially freeing up a seat for Alonso.

Lopez told Sportscar365 that he holds a contract with the Japanese manufacturer for the coming season but is yet to receive word on the extent of his program.

Should Alonso be part of Toyota’s two-car entry to Le Mans, he would become the first active F1 driver to enter the race since Nico Hülkeberg, who won on debut in 2015 for Porsche.

Alonso is also theoretically able to take part in the Spa, Silverstone and Shanghai WEC rounds due to the lack of F1 clashes, as well as being free for the Le Mans test day at the start of June.

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.


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