Alonso in frame for Toyota LMP1 test
Fernando Alonso is likely to drive a Toyota TS050 Hybrid in the official World Endurance Championship rookie test in Bahrain this month.
The two-time Formula 1 world champion looks set to drive the LMP1 on November 19, the day after the final race of the WEC season, according to Autosport.
There are also reports that Alonso has been to the Toyota Motorsport GmbH factory in Cologne for a seat fitting.
Toyota would not confirm or deny the stories, with a spokesman saying, “we have no comment on this speculation”.
The test, however, is consistent with Alonso’s stated ambition to win the ‘triple crown’ of world motorsport, being the Monaco Grand Prix (which he has won twice), Indianapolis 500, and Le Mans 24 Hours.
Toyota indicated that it would be open to talks with the 36-year-old Spaniard when it became clear that his new F1 deal with McLaren would give him the freedom to race at Le Mans.
Toyota team director Rob Leupen told Autosport, “We are always interested in talking to top drivers and Pascal (Vasselon, TMG technical director) has a good relationship with Fernando going back to his days with Michelin in F1.”
The Japanese manufacturer has not yet confirmed that it will stay in WEC, though Shigeki Tomoyama, the Japanese manufacturer’s overall head of motorsport as president of Toyota Gazoo Racing, has given firm hints that it intends to remain in the series long-term.
“We are looking to stay – and only with the goal of winning,” he said at last month’s Tokyo motor show.
Frenchman Thomas Laurent, part of Jackie Chan DC Racing LMP2-winning line-up at Le Mans this year, is the rookie confirmed to drive a Toyota at the Bahrain test.
A Porsche 919 Hybrid will be tested by the winner of this year’s Formula V8 3.5 series, which climaxes over the WEC Bahrain weekend.
The points are currently led by Pietro Fittipaldi, grandson of two-time F1 world champion Emerson.