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Alonso Happy to Complete Long-Awaited Maiden LMP1 Test

Two-time Formula 1 world champion Alonso happy after a productive first LMP1 test in Bahrain…

Photo: Marcel Langer/Adrenal Media

Fernando Alonso was pleased to complete his long-awaited maiden run in an LMP1 car during the FIA World Endurance Championship’s Rookie Test on Sunday in Bahrain with Toyota.

Two-time Formula 1 world champion Alonso was confirmed for the Rookie Test by Toyota following Saturday’s Six Hours of Bahrain, building momentum ahead of a possible entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans next year.

After allowing Sebastien Buemi to complete a 10-lap shakedown in the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, Alonso was given the remainder of the day to get to grips with the LMP1 car, completing 113 laps in total.

The Spaniard posted a fastest lap time of 1:43.013 to finish as the second-fastest rookie behind Pietro Fittipaldi, and nine-tenths of a second back from the benchmark set by Buemi during his run.

“It was a great day,” Alonso said in a statement provided by Toyota. “Testing an LMP1 car is always a nice thing for any racing driver because these cars are amazing to drive.

“They are very consistent throughout a stint which is a positive thing.

“I have wanted to test a car like this for a long time now and today I could achieve that so I am happy.”

Toyota tested Alonso alongside LMP2 driver Thomas Laurent in the morning, with team technical director Pascal Vasselon coming away impressed by both ‘rookies’.

“Both of them have done a very good job, very disciplined. No spins, no off-track, no damage on the car, which is the first target with give them when they jump into a TS050,” Vasselon said.

“So all in all, good. We’ve done obviously a bit more work with Fernando, so after getting familiar with the car he went this afternoon to do some tire testing, complementing what Mike [Conway] was doing on the other car.

“Quite a good day. I think Fernando has achieved more than 100 laps, so more than during a Formula 1 weekend. All good.

“We did not do any low-fuel runs, we did not do any qualifying runs. There was no trophy to win. We’ve done a full tank all day long and working as much as we could.

“I think he enjoyed it. But you have to ask him! I’m sure he has enjoyed it. He spent a lot of time already with the engineers. He’s very keen to understand our systems.”

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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