Fernando Alonso is likely to make his LMP1 debut in next weekend’s Bahrain Rookie Test, with the two-time Formula One World Champion tipped to test with Toyota Gazoo Racing.
Multiple sources have indicated to Sportscar365 that Alonso is close to confirming a deal with the Japanese manufacturer for the Nov. 19 test, in what could be a precursor to his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut in 2018.
Alonso, who was recently confirmed to take part in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona with United Autosports, has made no secret of his desire to contest the French endurance classic in his bid to win the unofficial ‘Triple Crown’ of motorsport.
Regarding the possibility of Alonso joining the team for the test, a Toyota spokesperson said: “we have no comment on this speculation.”
Toyota technical director Pascal Vasselon told Sportscar365 last weekend in Shanghai they are not currently in a position to finalize drivers for next year, as its return to the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018/19 ‘Super Season’ has not yet been confirmed.
It’s widely believed the manufacturer will again mount a two-car full-season effort, as indicated in recent comments by Toyota Gazoo Racing team president Shigeki Tomoyama, who said they will “probably continue” to race in LMP1.
Alonso would join Thomas Laurent for the single-day test, occurring the day after the WEC season finale, with the 19-year-old Frenchman having been selected by the WEC to drive a Toyota TS050 Hybrid.
The Bahrain Rookie Test has a history of attracting ex-F1 stars.
Robert Kubica took part in the the test last year, in a ByKolles Racing CLM P1/01 AER, while Juan Pablo Montoya took the wheel of a Porsche 919 Hybrid in 2015.