Published: Wed, January 31, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Fernando Alonso to enter Le Mans, WEC with Toyota in 2018

Fernando Alonso to enter Le Mans, WEC with Toyota in 2018

Fernando Alonso said he enjoyed his first experience of a 24-hour race despite technical problems hampering his sportscar debut at Daytona.

The number 23 United Autosports auto had run as high as sixth from 13th on the grid into the early hours of the night but a combination of problems - including a puncture and brake failure - dropped it down the field.

As Norris brought the No.23 auto home P13 in class, 90 laps down in total, there was better fortune for the sister United Autosports vehicle (No.32) driven by Will Owen, Hugo de Sadeleer and ex-Formula 1 drivers Paul di Resta and Bruno Senna.

Alonso was joined in the field by Williams youngster Lance Stroll; the Canadian previously competed in the event in 2016 for Ganassi, placing fifth, but this year joined Jackie Chan DC Racing.

"Instead of being on the bicycle or in the gym, you are driving, so it's a nice way". Unfortunately, we had too many issues that were out of our control, some unlucky situations like the puncture.

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"The vehicle was good, maybe not as good as some teams out there but generally quite satisfied with what we achieved out there". "Next time I jump in a prototype vehicle, closed cockpit, I know the traffic situations, night driving, safety auto".

He added: "Our pace in the whole race was pretty good in terms of our disadvantage of our actual pace in the auto".

Although a drive has yet to be announced, Alonso's participation at Daytona has always been regarded as a precursor to a first assault on the Le Mans 24 Hours this summer.

Despite the Ligier's lack of competitiveness relative to the best of the DPi cars, the trio had risen to as high as sixth place before they dropped outside of the top 20 early in Hour 11 as Alonso suffered a brake failure. But me, Phil and Fernando did a great job extracting what we could from the auto. As I said many times, I would like to do it.

It is understood Alonso is set to race for Toyota at Le Mans and in other events during the World Endurance Championship "super season".

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Alonso also confirmed he would be interested in returning to the Rolex 24 in the future, identifying it as a good way to keep sharp during the F1 off-season.

Alonso will be able to feature in all WEC rounds in 2018 with the exception of the 6 Hours of Fuji, which clashes with the United States Grand Prix on October 21.

But the Spaniard has also expressed his determination to complete motorsport's Triple Crown of the Monaco GP, Indianapolis 500 and Le Mans.

"Last year, we came to the joint decision to go racing with Fernando at the Indy 500 rather than at the Monaco Grand Prix".

"On track on my final lap before I boxed, I overtook my teammate [the #32 Ligier], who I thought was my ahead of me, and I could swear he had the 8 [on the digital readout that shows current position] on the vehicle".

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