Fernando Alonso, Toyota, World Endurance Championship, Bahrain, 2017

Alonso replaces Davidson at Toyota alongside Buemi and Nakajima

World Endurance Championship

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Toyota has confirmed Fernando Alonso’s World Endurance Champiuonship team mates will be former F1 drivers Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.

He has taken the place of 2014 World Endurance Champion and former F1 driver Anthony Davidson, who has become Toyota’s reserve driver.

“I am looking forward to working together with and learning from Sebastien and Kazuki, who are both very experienced endurance drivers,” said Alonso. “It will be a learning curve for me but I am ready for this challenge and I can’t wait to get started.”

Alonso will share one of the team’s two TS050s at all of this year’s WEC races bar the Six Hours of Fuji, which clashes with an F1 race. The Japanese manufacturer said he will “compete in all rounds of the 2018-19 season which do not conflict with his existing Formula 1 obligations.”

Alonso’s participation in next year’s WEC races in Sebring, Spa and Le Mans therefore depend on the dates of the 2019 F1 races and tests.

Team principal Hisatake Murata said “Fernando is a rookie in WEC but he brings speed and experience gained from many years at the top of his sport.”

“We are all excited to work with him but endurance racing is a team effort and we know all of our drivers are performing to a very high level. I would like to thank Anthony for his professional approach in difficult circumstances; he remains a strong part of our driving line-up and he will be busy this season.”

The Nakajima/Buemi/Davidson car famously came within five minutes of winning the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2016, when it was stopped by a turbo problem. The team’s second car will be driven by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez.

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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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  • 17 comments on “Alonso replaces Davidson at Toyota alongside Buemi and Nakajima”

    1. Couldn’t this have been edited into the previous article?

      I noticed that recently there has been an increase in quantity of articles, even though the content doesn’t merit it’s own article (maybe inclusion in a round-up or something)

      1. Deciding when an evolving story deserves a second or subsequent piece can be a tricky call. In this case there was a lag between the two announcements, and the second one was more WEC-focused, so I decided it was the right way to go. Thanks for the feedback.

      2. Well, I had already read the preceeding article before this one came out. If we followed your process, I would have missed the additional content.

    2. Hope that Ant can get an FE drive, an IMSA ride or maybe a Blancpain seat somewhere, he’s too good good a driver to be left on the sidelines.

      1. Maybe the deal should have been that Ant gets Alonso’s seat at McLaren when Alonso is doing WEC

    3. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      30th January 2018, 11:54

      So assuming his car finishes in the points (without him) at Fuji, does that mean he can’t win the championship? Or is that not how it works?

      What a shock, I’m not convinced he can truly give 100% to both sports with that workload but feel free to prove me wrong Nando.

      1. correct. He will receive points for races he competes in . Example Toyata win 4 races incl Fuji then it will be
        Buemi/ Nakajima 100 points
        Alonso 75 points

        1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          30th January 2018, 20:13

          I have a sneaking suspicion if McLaren aren’t overly competitive and Alonso has a high chance at taking the WEC title, we will probably see him at Fuji.

          1. I believe that’s the whole purpose of a deal like this – doing WEC and F1 simultaneously.

    4. Cool! He’s going for the 24h of LeMans. And he did very nice at Indy500 last year (his Honda engine gave up, strange right? Haha) so he can try again that one. Not so nice that LMP1 got so small grid forma this year.

      1. What are you talking about? there are 9 lmp1 this year compared to 4 last year

        1. But only one fully factory backed team. Only way Toyota loses at Le Mans, is if their cars develop mechanical issues, if not, they’ll walk it.

    5. This will be shallow victory for Alonso I think. After Porsche exit the drivers of Toyota don’t mean much. The hardware will win this battle.

      1. @ivan-vinitskyy, does anybody then say that Audi’s victories at Le Mans from 2000-2006 were shallow victories given that they were the only manufacturer entrant in those years (the Bentley Speed 8 doesn’t count, since that was just a rebadged Audi R8 and Joest Racing, which ran the factory Audi team, helped run those entries as well)?

        it depends on the performance balance that the ACO strikes with the privateer LMP1 entrants – Toyota have agreed with the ACO that the performance balance should be set up so the privateers can be competitive (something that Audi and Porsche weren’t quite always so keen on). If that is achieved, then the LMP1 field should still be fairly competitive as there are meant to be quite a few privateer entrants in the LMP1 category over the coming season.

    6. I think getting the seat is the major victory. Somewhere around half the battle. Still, they have to finish, and in front of the other car. At LeMans anything can happen.

      I think only hard core nuts like us will diminish his accomplishment if he wins.

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