Fernando Alonso, having recently been given the green light by the McLaren team to race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, will now race with the Toyota GAZOO Racing team for most of the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship, giving him two shots at the 24 hour event.
He will do so alongside his Formula 1 commitments, as he takes the place of British driver Anthony Davidson, who as a result of the shuffle, will become the team’s Reserve and Development driver.
Alonso, who last week made his Rolex 24 at Daytona debut, in which issues with the car saw him finish down in thirty-eighth, will continue his endurance racing legacy as he takes another step to securing the triple crown.
“I am very excited to participate in the Le Mans 24 Hours for the first time.” said Alonso.
“It is a race which I have followed closely for a long time and it has always been an ambition of mine to participate. Endurance racing is a different discipline compared to single-seaters and it will be an interesting challenge.”
Alonso will join the #8 crew where former-F1 drivers Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima will join him as teammates. The pair, along with Davidson, won five races last year finishing the championship as runners-up, though neither driver has won Le Mans.
“I am looking forward to working together with, and learning from, Sébastien and Kazuki, who are both very experienced endurance drivers. 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 not participate in the Prologue event, nor the round at the Fuji Speedway due to clashing commitments with F1, where Davidson is expected to take over.
The #7 car will keep the same line-up, with Jose Maria Lopez keeping his seat alongside Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi.
Hisatake Murata, Toyota’s Team President 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.”