Alonso signs up for WEC season and Le Mans

Javier Stokes
February 2, 2018

The team has confirmed the driver line-ups for the two TS050 hybrids; with the No.7 auto competing with an unchanged line-up of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez, while the No.8 vehicle features a revised driver line-up, with Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima joined by Fernando Alonso. Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima will now be joined by the double F1 world champion for the races.

His WEC debut will be at Spa-Francorchamps in May, though his eyes are set on the prize of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Alonso's push to compete in sports auto racing is part of his bid to complete motorsport's triple crown - winning the Monaco grand prix, the Indianapolis 500, and the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Toyota team sources have confirmed to DSC that they currently expect Alonso to contest a near full season, there are two clashes against currently announced calendars, the Bahrain GP clashes with the WEC Prologue test and the Fuji round, ironically a circuit owned by Toyota, moved to avoid a clash with Petit Le Mans now instead clashes with the US Grand Prix at CoTA - Will the WEC regret that decision?

The #7 will be driven by once again by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, and three-time touring-car champ José María López. "It is a race which I have followed closely for a long time and it has always been an ambition of mine to participate", Alonso says.

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McLaren executive director Zak Brown said he was satisfied Alonso's Le Mans commitments would not detract from his main job in Formula One. "It is a big challenge - much can go wrong - but I am ready, prepared and looking forward to the fight".

That's key, because it edges him a little closer to his fairly special target: motorsport's Triple Crown, aka winning Le Mans, Indy 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix.

The participation in the 24 Hours of Le Mans but also in the FIA World Endurance Championship, from such a champion demonstrates the challenge that our event and our discipline represents for a driver.

"We tried for Indy a year ago, came close, but just missed out", added Alonso, who led at Indianapolis before a late engine failure. "My aim is to be competitive at every grand prix, and I feel sure that we are closer to achieving that", said Alonso, who has 32 F1 wins among 97 podium finishes.

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