Fernando Alonso Could Race With Toyota at Le Mans Next Year
That is, if the conditions are right.
McLaren star driver Fernando Alonso has announced in the past that he's interested in completing the unofficial racing "Triple Crown". Having raced at the Monaco Grand Prix numerous times in his career and then competing in the Indy 500 last year, the only event that remains is the 24 Hours of Le Mans. According to recent reports, Alonso could have his wish granted as Toyota has shown interest in the double world champion, saying it was open to having him race at La Sarthe next year if everything was in place.
In order for Alonso to participate at the 24 Hours, he'd first have to be cleared through McLaren. The Woking-based team already announced that it would be fine with 'Nando racing at Le Mans next year, even if he signs a new F1 contract, as the French race doesn't intersect with any events on the Formula One calendar.
Alonso has won at Monaco twice--once in 2006 and again in 2007--completing that sector of the treasured holy motorsport trinity. He was competitive in this year's race in Indianapolis although an engine failure forced him out in the closing laps, holding him back in what was perhaps his only chance at the race. He likely won't be allowed by McLaren to participate at the Indy 500 again, but a chance at Le Mans victory would help his efforts nonetheless.
Toyota only plans on running two cars in next year's race, however, meaning that the team would have to boot one of its six regular drivers to make space for Alonso. Toyota Gazoo Racing team director Rob Leupen said to Motorsport.com: "We are always interested in talking to top drivers and Pascal [Vasselon, Toyota Motorsport GmbH technical director] has a good relationship with Fernando going back to his days with Michelin in F1. But we cannot say anything more than that, because too much is open right now."
McLaren has toyed with the idea of joining Le Mans in the future if costs continue to decrease. As for 2018, however, team chief Zak Brown says it's a bit too soon.
“We have our hands full with getting our F1 team back on track," he said. "But we have spoken about it [Le Mans], and if it is something he would like to do, in the right circumstances, we would be open to that.”