Fernando Alonso will be allowed to compete in the new season of the FIA World Endurance Championship with McLaren’s blessing after Zak Brown and the team have come to an agreement with the Spaniard and Toyota Gazoo Racing.
With Formula 1 remaining a priority, Alonso will miss the Japanese round of the WEC which is to be held at Fuji Speedway in October due to a clash with the US Grand Prix.
“It’s no secret that Fernando has wanted to contest the Le Mans 24 Hours.” said Zak Brown, Executive Director, McLaren Technology Group. “And I think everybody within our organisation appreciates that a motivated, hungry and happy world-class driver such as Fernando is a formidable asset for any team in F1.
“Last year, we came to the joint decision to go racing with Fernando at the Indy 500 rather than at the Monaco Grand Prix.
“But we’ve always said that we would consider each opportunity on a case-by-case basis, and we both know that, in 2018, our core priority is success in Formula 1.
“Like Fernando, at McLaren we’re racers at heart, and our team is built on a brave heritage of competing and succeeding in different forms of the sport. Equally important is the confidence that nothing detracts from our number one goal of Formula 1. After proper evaluation, we are satisfied that this campaign does not do that, and that McLaren’s best interests prevail.”
Gaining endurance racing experience
The announcement comes off the back of Alonso’s first foray in to endurance racing after taking part in the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, finishing thirty-eighth overall after his team suffered various issues throughout the endurance classic.
“I’ve never been shy about my aim of winning motorsport’s ‘Triple Crown’ – the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indy 500, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. We tried for Indy last year, came close, but just missed out.” said Alonso.
“This year, I have the chance thanks to McLaren to race for the win at Le Mans. It is a big challenge – much can go wrong – but I am ready, prepared and looking forward to the fight.
“My deal to race in WEC was only made possible through the good understanding and strong relationship I have with McLaren, and I’m very happy that they listened and understood what this means to me.
“In no way will this challenge take away from my main target of Formula 1 with McLaren. In 2018, my aim is to be competitive at every grand prix, and I feel sure that we are closer to achieving that.”