LONDON — Fernando Alonso will be replaced by New Zealander Brendon Hartley in the Toyota World Endurance Championship (WEC) team after the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, the Japanese manufacturer announced on Wednesday. Toyota said Formula One two-time champion Alonso "will explore new motorsport adventures within the Toyota Gazoo Racing family." No details were given, but the Spaniard recently tested a Toyota Dakar Rally car in South Africa. The next edition of that race will be held in Saudi Arabia in January 2020. Alonso won Le Mans with Toyota last year and will be trying to win the Indianapolis 500 with McLaren later this month to become only the second driver to complete the so-called "Triple Crown of Motorsport." "Now is a good time to take on new challenges, and there are many interesting opportunities to explore within Toyota Gazoo Racing," said the 37-year-old, who left Formula One last year. "We still have two important races remaining as we are still in the fight to become WEC World Champions, and I will be pushing hard to win both of them." Hartley won Le Mans with Porsche in 2017 and is a two-time World Endurance champion. He raced in Formula One with Toro Rosso last year. "I believe I am returning to WEC an even stronger driver following my experience in Formula One," he said. The 2019-20 WEC season starts at Silverstone on Sept. 1 and runs to Le Mans on June 14, 2020.
MADRID — Formula One champion Fernando Alonso has taken a test drive in the Toyota Hilux truck that won the Dakar Rally this year. The Spanish driver was in South Africa for the test along with former Dakar Rally champion Giniel de Villiers. Toyota won this year's race with three-time winner Nasser Al-Attiyah. Alonso says the session "was definitely fun, different," and added it was interesting to see how much beating the vehicle could take while going over rocks and bumps. The Spaniard retired from F1 last season and is reportedly considering racing in the Dakar Rally. He has been competing in endurance races and will be back for a second run at the Indy 500 this year. Alonso said Wednesday on Twitter: "Great to experience different cars and approach to racing in Motorsport."
What a day! Thanks Toyota Gazoo to make this test happen. Great to experience different cars and approach to racing in Motorsport. #toyota #motorsport @toyota_sa @toyotamotorsportgmbh pic.twitter.com/n4ERIGoAXW — Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) March 27, 2019
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Fernando Alonso will drive for Toyota in this year's Le Mans 24-hour race and the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), his McLaren Formula One team said on Tuesday. The Spanish double F1 world champion has been considering taking part in endurance events as he bids to emulate Graham Hill, the late Briton who won the Formula One world title, Indianapolis 500 and Le Mans in the 1960s. "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.
Fernando Alonso has inched closer to his dream of competing at the Le Mans 24 Hours, completing a day of testing with Toyota in Bahrain.
Throughout the day, the Spaniard did over 100 laps, setting a best lap time of 1 min 43.013 seconds, six tenths shy of the best time achieved by Toyota LMP1 driver Mike Conway in the same conditions.
When it was recently announced that Fernando Alonso would race in the 24 Hours of Daytona in January, it was described as a warm-up for an eventual attempt to win Le Mans. "Eventual" may come pretty fast: It now looks like the Formula One champion will race in the Le Mans 24 Hours next season as well.
Or so reports BBC Sport, which says he'll race for Toyota. But wait, there's more: The BBC also says he's in talks with Toyota to drive most of the entire World Endurance Championship — while keeping his day job driving for McLaren in F1.