Toyota: Working with Alonso "remarkably easy"

Toyota has described working with two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso in its assault on the Le Mans 24 Hours as being "remarkably easy".

Toyota: Working with Alonso "remarkably easy"
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050: Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, Fernando Alonso, Jose Maria Lopez, Anthony Davidson
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050: Fernando Alonso
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez, Fernando Alonso, Anthony Davidson
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez, Fernando Alonso, Anthony Davidson
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050: Fernando Alonso
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050: Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, Fernando Alonso, Jose Maria Lopez, Anthony Davidson
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050: Fernando Alonso
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050: Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, Fernando Alonso, Jose Maria Lopez, Anthony Davidson
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050: Fernando Alonso

Alonso signed with the Japanese outfit for the full 2018/19 superseason of the FIA World Endurance Championship, which includes two editions of Le Mans, in his bid to conquer motorsport's unofficial 'Triple Crown'.

Last month the Spaniard won his first ever WEC race at Spa-Francorchamps alongside teammates Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, while on Sunday the McLaren F1 driver also finished on top of the timesheets at the official Le Mans test with the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid.

Toyota is surprised by how quickly Alonso has integrated himself into the team and how he has embraced the endurance mentality, a far cry from the cut-throat environment of grand prix racing. 

"Fortunately we don't even have to ask ourselves this question," Toyota technical director Pascal Vasselon told Motorsport.com when asked how well Alonso had integrated himself within the team.

"He's settled himself in the team in a way that makes things so easy. The guys know each other already. It's quite smooth. And he makes things smooth because he is coming with a pure and genuine motivation. It's remarkably easy so far."

Flashback: When McLaren conquered Le Mans

Despite Alonso's obvious wealth of experience, team director Rob Leupen believes Toyota has taken a risk by employing a driver with just one endurance race to his name.

The 36-year-old also contested January's Rolex 24 at Daytona with LMP2 team United Autosports.

"We did take a bit of a risk," Leupen told Motorsport.com. "Okay, he's a double world champion, but he's a rookie. He has to deal with traffic.

"We're not here with 20 cars on roughly the same level, there's gigantic differences. He needs to be able to judge that. 

"At Spa we saw some really good moments of him. At one point he was stuck behind a GTE going into Turn 17 [Blanchimont] and he did that perfectly. That was really good and that gives confidence to the team that he can do it."

Leupen believes Alonso's contribution is even greater off-track, adding: "I believe Fernando has been able to add a lot to the team, partly because of his experience, but especially because of his personality.

"He's 100 percent professional, easy-going and open. It gives the engineers and the mechanics an extra boost, extra motivation. I think we can be very happy that he chose to race with us. In hindsight it's been a very good move.

"I hope he feels the same way and from what I observe and hear he's feeling good in the team and that's important. From the first moment it has been really nice working with Fernando."

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About this article

Series Le Mans
Drivers Fernando Alonso
Teams Toyota Racing
Author Filip Cleeren
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