Alonso will test WEC Toyota tomorrow

2017 F1 season

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Toyota has announced Fernando Alonso will test their LMP1 TS050 car at the Bahrain International Circuit tomorrow.

The news is the clearest sign yet that the two-times world champion is seriously considering an entry in the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours with the Japanese manufacturer. Alonso is present in Bahrain for this weekend’s World Endurance Championship season finale.

Alonso will test Toyota’s LMP1 TS050
“We are very excited that Fernando will test our car,” said team president Hisatake Murata.

Alonso visited Toyota’s factory in Germany 11 days ago for a seat fitting. “When he visited us in Cologne everyone who met him could sense his enthusiasm and passion for our sport.” added Murata. “He is a true racer.”

“We very much respect his interest in different forms of motorsport and it is a pleasure to offer him this chance to drive a hybrid LMP1 car. It will be interesting to hear his feedback on the TS050.”

Alonso has set himself the goal of winning motor racing’s ‘triple crown’ which consists of Formula One’s Monaco Grand Prix, IndyCar’s Indianapolis 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hours, which is part of the World Endurance Championship. Alonso has already won in Monaco and led this year’s Indianapolis 500 before retiring.

McLaren’s engine supplier Honda is believed to have vetoed Alonso’s participation in the race with Porsche in 2015. However next week’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be McLaren’s last race with the Japanese manufacturer before switching to Renault power for 2018.

Alonso’s participation in one 24-hour endurance race next year has already been confirmed. He will race in the Daytona 24 Hours, sharing an LMP2 Ligier JS P217 with Lando Norris and Paul di Resta. The car will be run by McLaren CEO Zak Brown’s United Autosports team.

Toyota will also run rookie driver Thomas Laurent at the test.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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11 comments on “Alonso will test WEC Toyota tomorrow”

  1. Fantastic !

  2. I bet WEC is also behind this… it’d generate interest in the race despite Porsche’s withdrawal.

    Fantastic news nonetheless, hopefully he wins this one!

  3. So, who is left in the LMP1 category next year? If it is only Toyota, then I think Alonso should fancy his chances! :-D

    1. Not if Toyota pull a Toyota!

    2. @ijw1, although most assume it is a done deal, Toyota has not formally confirmed that they will participate in the upcoming 2018/2019 extended season. They have stated that, although they are likely to stay, the final decision will depend on the ACO’s proposed amendments to the regulations for the 2018/19 season, and one key aspect will be the performance balance between themselves and the incoming privateer LMP1 entrants.

      One suggested option to balance the teams was to ensure they’d be competitive in terms of outright pace, but that the fuel allowance would give a slight edge to the factory hybrid cars (aiming for a one lap advantage at the Circuit de la Sarthe). It’s still being negotiated though, and reportedly there had been some resistance from Toyota about a suggestion to cut their fuel allowance – so although Toyota are expected to continue, it’s not quite a done deal just yet.

      Speaking of the privateers, we have had confirmation that SMP Racing will be entering a pair of BR1’s, the cars developed by Dallara for the BR Engineering team, and BR Engineering will be racing one chassis themselves. Ginetta have also confirmed that the Manor Racing team will enter at least one Ginetta chassis, possibly two if they are competitive enough, and there is talk of more possible entries based on the Ginetta chassis.

      Asides from them, DragonSpeed (the current European Le Mans Series winners) apparently want to compete with a car as well, though they’ve not confirmed any of the details. Asides from them, there should be the ByKolles entry as well with the ageing CLM P/01 as well, though again the details of Kolles’s entry are less clear.

  4. I would say his chances are very good considering most of the
    Competition have dropped out of the series- but being a mclaren man I hope he wins

  5. He gets around a bit does old Alonso. I might give him a bell,I’ve got a train or two to drive on Monday which he might fancy having a go at.

  6. Interesting to note Thomas Laurent, the 19-year-old rookie who they will also test, graduated straight from karts to sports cars, bypassing single-seaters entirely. An unusual career path – normally drivers set out in single-seaters and switch to sports cars later on.

  7. Fernando will try another Japanese power-plant but looking in what happened in the last 2 editions of Le Mans and that some guy at Toyota said that Hybrid technology is still probably not good to win that race (forgetting all together that it won several times with Audi and Porsche, so it’s more of Toyota’s technology) he has 75% chances of retiring or lose a lot of time due to technical issues…

    1. @bakano So, basically, more of the usual for Fernando.

  8. I wish him the best of luck. The test of a truly great driver is ability to drive a variety of cars / bikes and master the very different skills required of them and win.

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