Fernando Alonso has taken part in a “busy and interesting” test at the Bahrain International Circuit with Toyota Gazoo Racing, as the Spanish Formula 1 driver prepares to make his sportscar debut in 2018.
Two-time F1 world champion Alonso, 36, took part in the rookie test at the circuit, the day after the #8 crew of Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima claimed Toyota’s fifth victory of the season.
Alonso, who completed 113 laps in the TS050 HYBRID, said: “testing an LMP1 car is always a nice thing for any racing driver because these cars are amazing to drive.
“I have wanted to test a car like this for a long time now and today I could achieve that.”
McLaren F1 driver Alonso has grown frustrated at Honda’s well documented troubles with its power-unit and has decided that he wants to try and win the so-called ‘triple-crown’.
Made up of the Monaco Grand Prix, (which Alonso won in 2006 and 2007), the Indianapolis 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hours, with only Graham Hill winning this trio of races.
Alonso was joined in the rookie test by Thomas Laurent “as a reward for his impressive LMP2 performance this season.”
The Frenchman completed a total of 31 laps in the morning session and was quick to thank Toyota afterwards.
He said: “A big thanks to Toyota, I would love to drive a car like this again.
“It was my first time in an LMP1 car and it is the best car I have ever driven.
“The downforce, the hybrid boost and the braking. It was all very impressive” said Laurent, who took second overall at Le Mans in June.
Regular drivers Mike Conway and Buemi were also on testing duty for the Japanese manufacturer, who is now the sole manufacturer in LMP1 after Porsche’s withdrawal, with Buemi limited to just 10 laps, with Conway completing 64 tours of the 3.3 mile circuit.