No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid at the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans
It appears Fernando Alonso may test the waters in more race series outside of Formula 1 than just the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The Spaniard is already confirmed to be competing in the 24 Hours of Daytona next January, the opening race of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and there are rumors brewing he may also end up competing in one of the rounds of the World Endurance Championship, specifically the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Alonso has previously acknowledged a desire to win the “Triple Crown” of motorsport, which requires wins in the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. So far he only has the Monaco win.
Now Motorsport.com is reporting that Toyota may give him his chance at Le Mans. The website’s sources have revealed that Toyota is close to confirming Alonso for a test of the TS050 Hybrid LMP1 racer during a WEC test scheduled to take place in Bahrain on November 19. It’s rumored Alonso has already visited Toyota for a seat fitting in the TS050 Hybrid.
Note, Toyota is yet to commit to the next season of the WEC although the automaker has indicated it would like to stay. Organizers plan to shake up the series now that Porsche has confirmed it won’t return for the next season.
Among the new rules being proposed is a call for the same potential of performance among the LMP1 cars regardless if they’re using hybrid technology or not. There are also calls to move the series to a split-year calendar starting next year.
If Toyota stays, it means the automaker will be sole factory effort in the series’ premier LMP1 class. There will be other teams competing in LMP1, though. One of the newcomers will be the United Kingdom’s Manor in partnership with China’s TRS. The team will embark on its debut season in LMP1 with the new Ginetta LMP1 racer.
In other WEC news, Porsche has secured the Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ titles in the LMP1 class of the 2017 WEC. A second and third place finish by the Porsche 919 Hybrids at the recent 6 Hours of Shanghai produced an early title decision. The championship-winning drivers were Earl Bamber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley.