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.”