Alonso to race at Le Mans 24-Hoursposted in F130 | 01 | 2018

    FERNANDO ALONSO WILL race in this year’s Le Mans 24-Hours with Toyota Gazoo Racing. The Spaniard has also reached an agreement with his McLaren F1 team to allow him to contest a number of additional rounds in the World Endurance Championship.

    Alonso will compete in all races that do not conflict with his Formula 1 duties, joining the crew of the No8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid alongside Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima. His schedule will include his debut in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

    The Spaniard tested Toyota's LMP1 car in Bahrain at the end of last year and made his sportscar debut in the Daytona 24 Hours last weekend.

    Alonso has stressed F1 remains his primary objective, and will dovetail his sportscar commitments around grands prix.

    As a result, he will not contest WEC’s Japanese round, at the Fuji Speedway on October 21, due to it clashing with the US Grand Prix, held at the Circuit of the Americas, in Austin, Texas.


    Today’s announcement allow double Formula One World champ Alonso to bid for the second part of motorsport’s iconic Triple Crown. Having previously won the Monaco Grand Prix, and savoured his first experience of the Indianapolis 500 last year, he now bids to win Le Mans in June. (Related: Sato wins Indy500 as Alonso suffers)

    “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,” Alonso said. “We tried for Indy last year, came close, but just missed out.

    “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.

    “Endurance racing is a different discipline and it will be an interesting challenge. I am looking forward to working with and learning from Sébastien and Kazuki, who are both very experienced endurance drivers. It will be a learning curve for me, but I am ready for this challenge and can’t wait to get started.


    “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 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.”

    The announcement was supported by Zak Brown, Executive Director, McLaren Technology Group.

    “It’s no secret Fernando has wanted to contest the Le Mans 24 Hours,” Brown said. “And I think everybody within our organisation appreciates that a motivated, hungry and happy world-class driver such as Fernando is a formidable asset for any team in F1.


    “Last year, we came to the joint decision to go racing with Fernando at the Indy 500 rather than at the Monaco Grand Prix. But we’ve always said we would consider each opportunity on a case-by-case basis, and we both know that, in 2018, our core priority is success in Formula 1.

    “Like Fernando, at McLaren we’re racers at heart, and our team is built on a brave heritage of competing and succeeding in different forms of the sport.

    “Equally important is the confidence that nothing detracts from our number one goal of Formula 1. After proper evaluation, we are satisfied that this campaign does not do that, and that McLaren’s best interests prevail.”

    Toyota’s No7 car will have an unchanged crew of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López.

    The team have submitted their entry for the Le Mans 24 Hours race and will field two cars in all eight rounds of the up-coming season, which spans 2018 and 2019. They will again use the 1,000hp TS050 Hybrid car with which they claimed victory in five of the nine WEC races last year.

    Related: Live TV schedule for 2018 F1

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    Jim McGill


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