ALONSO TO COMPETE IN WEC AND F1 IN 2018
Alonso, who has already driven the Toyota in the end of season test last year, will compete in every WEC race that doesn’t clash with his F1 commitments, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
“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,” he said. “We tried for Indy last year, came close, but just missed out.
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.”
Alonso made it to the closing stages of the Indy 500 last season, but was forced to retire when his Honda engine failed 21 laps before the chequered flag.
He’ll be racing with Honda’s Japanese competitor this season, but that won’t rule out a late problem in his Le Mans campaign. Last year, both Toyota cars were running at the sharp end of the field when they retired within 20 minutes of one another.
Toyota is expected to be one of the front runners this season, and Alonso will have experienced team-mates in the form of Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.
Alonso added that adding to his F1 success is still his main priority.
“In no way will this challenge take away from my main target of Formula 1 with McLaren,” he said. “In 2018, my aim is to be competitive at every grand prix, and I feel sure that we are closer to achieving that.”
McLaren boss Zak Brown believes Alonso’s WEC fight will help his F1 performance.
“It’s no secret that Fernando has wanted to contest the Le Mans 24 Hours,” he said. “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 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 the McLaren’s best interests prevail.”
Alonso made his endurance debut last month competing in the Daytona 24 Hours. The United Autosport car ran competitively early in the race, but tyre blow outs and mechanical problems dropped it back. The team finished 35th and 90 laps down.
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