Fernando Alonso will take part in Sunday’s FIA World Endurance Championship rookie test with Toyota, it has been confirmed.
The McLaren Formula 1 driver will share a Toyota TS050 Hybrid with team regular Sebastien Buemi as he undertakes his first mileage in an LMP1 hybrid.
Alonso was absent from the initial draft of the WEC rookie test entry list, released earlier this month, but is known to have undergone a seat fitting at Toyota Motorsport GmbH’s Cologne headquarters in preparation for the test.
The Spaniard attended the season-closing Bahrain WEC race on Saturday as a guest of the Bahraini royal family, and was seen with members of the Porsche team on the grid.
His participation in the rookie test will be seen as the clearest indication yet that the two-time F1 champion is set to race in next year’s Le Mans 24 Hours as he continues his quest to complete the ‘Triple Crown’ of motorsport: Monaco F1, Indy 500 and Le Mans.
“We are very excited that Fernando will test our car," said Hisatake Murata, Team President. "When he visited us in Cologne everyone who met him could sense his enthusiasm and passion for our sport; he is a true racer.
“We very much respect his interest in different forms of motorsport and it is a pleasure to offer him this chance to drive a hybrid LMP1 car. It will be interesting to hear his feedback on the TS050 HYBRID.”
Other WEC outings also remain a possibility for Alonso, with only one round – Fuji – clashing with the F1 schedule in 2018.
LMP2 star Thomas Laurent will drive the other Toyota TS050 Hybrid alongside Mike Conway, while newly-crowned Formula V8 3.5 champion Pietro Fittipaldi will drive a Porsche 919 Hybrid as his prize for winning the WEC support series.