Report: Fernando Alonso to Perform Toyota LMP1 Test
This could be a precursor to the Spaniard’s 24 Hours of Le Mans debut in 2018.
McLaren driver and two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso has made it clear that he wishes to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. After driving in this year's Indy 500, the Spaniard looks to round out the unofficial "Triple Crown" of motorsport, and as it stands, Le Mans is the only race he has yet to enter. Rumors have swirled that he could potentially drive for Toyota in 2018 at the fabled French endurance race, and now, inside sources have told Sportscar365 that Alonso is likely to make his LMP1 testing debut at Bahrain next weekend.
It was confirmed earlier that Alonso will be competing in January's Rolex 24 at Daytona with United Autosports. Many viewed this as a preparation of sorts for Le Mans, though this most recent breaking news indicates a much more serious dedication by both Alonso and Toyota. His bosses at McLaren have already given him the nod to drive in the day-long race as it does not interfere with his F1 schedule, so the only confirmation left to receive now lies with the Japanese racing team.
When questioned for info on the subject, a Toyota spokesperson simply replied: “we have no comment on this speculation.”
The November 19th test will take place in Bahrain and has attracted several former F1 drivers including Robert Kubica and Juan Pablo Montoya in the past. If Alonso was to participate, he'd be driving alongside 19-year old Thomas Laurent. The young Frenchman was recently selected by the WEC to drive a Toyota TS050 Hybrid and will attend the event next weekend.
Alonso made note of his experience at Indianapolis in 2017 and how he wishes to come prepared should he enter the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
"As I said many times, the Triple Crown is the main thing," Alonso said at October's United States Grand Prix. "I know that the Indy 500 was a nice thing and I felt very competitive, but it was a big challenge that I took from zero, with no testing and no similar racing experience before the Indy 500 at any other oval, it was a big challenge.
"I was competitive and it felt good but if I want to prepare for Le Mans maybe there are other possibilities to prepare Le Mans a little bit better [than I did for] the Indy 500."