Fernando Alonso ‘Would Love’ Extended WEC Program if Allowed
There are three free weekends in which the Spaniard could compete with the Toyota LMP1 crew.
Fernando Alonso is preparing for a packed 2018 with F1 and endurance racing opportunities aplenty. The double world champion is already signed up for January's Daytona 24 and he's believed to be on the roster for Toyota's 24 Hours of Le Mans efforts. There have been rumors that the Spaniard could participate in additional WEC races next season with only one F1 calendar interference at Fuji.
In a recent interview with Crash.net, Alonso revealed his interest in even more possible competitions with Toyota. His recent testing at Bahrain brought about 113 laps behind the wheel of a TS050 Hybrid, all of which showed exceptional promise. His best lap time was within a second of the ringleader and WEC veteran Sebastien Buemi's, finishing second behind Pietro Fittipaldi in the LMP1 rookie testing.
When asked if he would be interested in endurance races other than Daytona and Le Mans, Alonso said that he “didn’t think about that”. His main interest remains in completing the 'Triple Crown of Motorsport' which includes the Monaco Grand Prix, Indy 500, and the day-long race at Circuit De La Sarthe.
“I need to digest that… I need to see the calendar properly,” he said. “It could be nice. Probably. I would love it.”
Alonso proclaimed his excitement about testing with the Japanese manufacturer last weekend, saying he had "wanted to test a car like that for a long time."
“It was a great day,” Alonso said in a statement provided by Toyota. “Testing an LMP1 car is always a nice thing for any racing driver because these cars are amazing to drive. They are very consistent throughout a stint which is a positive thing."
McLaren team director Eric Boullier was questioned about Alonso's endurance racing activity and whether or not he'd be cleared to compete in more than one race next season. He explained that although there are a few opportunities at Spa, Silverstone, and Shanghai, the rest of the calendar could be a bit murky.
“First of all, there is a clash like you say, so he can’t do the full season,” Boullier said. “And with the ‘super season’, there is only actually I think three races you could do plus Le Mans.
“Obviously we all know Fernando likes to race every weekend. There is not enough with 52 weekends per year.
“We know that he wants to do Le Mans one day. So far there have been no official requests. We’ve not been asked. So I cannot comment on rumors.”
Toyota is expected to announce its driver lineup for the 2018 season in January.