Fernando Alonso completes first test in Toyota

Fernando Alonso completes first test in Toyota

Fernando Alonso completed his first test of a Toyota LMP1 car at the World Endurance Championship’s end-of-season rookie test in Bahrain on Sunday.

Two-time F1 world champion Alonso racked up 113 laps in the No 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, posting a best time of 1:43.013.

The test is seen as the first step to Alonso competing in next year’s Le Mans 24 Hours as the Spaniard looks to complete motorsport’s Triple Crown before he retires.

“It was a great day,” Alonso said.

“Testing an LMP1 car is always a nice thing for any racing driver because these cars are amazing to drive. They are very consistent throughout a stint which is a positive thing.

“I have wanted to test a car like this for a long time now and today I could achieve that so I am happy.”

Alonso’s fastest lap was seven tenths slower than that set by regular Toyota driver Mike Conway in the No 7 car.

The 36-year-old has regularly spoken of his interest in competing in other motorsport categories and his next taste of endurance racing will come at January’s Daytona 24 Hours, when he will race for the United Autosports sportscar team.

Alonso is attempting to become only the second driver in history, after the late Graham Hill, to complete the Triple Crown – winning the Monaco GP, Indianapolis 500 and Le Mans 24 Hours.

He won in Monte Carlo in 2006 and 2007, while this year McLaren permitted him to skip the Monaco GP to compete in the Indy 500 where he ran strongly before an engine failure.

Next year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, scheduled for June 16-17, does not clash with any F1 races, coming a week after the Canadian GP and before the sport’s first triple header starting at the French GP.

McLaren are currently partnered by Honda, Toyota’s domestic rivals in the auto industry, but that will terminate at the end of the year to open the possibility for Alonso to race for Toyota without contractual issues.

Toyota technical director Pascal Vasselon refused to be drawn on Alonso’s long-term involvement with the team but was impressed by the Spaniard’s initial running.

“A very good job, very disciplined. No spins, no off-track, no damage on the car, which is the first target we give when they jump into a TS050,” Vasselon said.

“So all in all, good. We’ve done obviously a bit more work with Fernando. After getting familiar with the car he went this afternoon to do some tyre testing, complementing what Mike [Conway] was doing on the other car.

“We did not do any low-fuel runs, we did not do any qualifying runs. There was no trophy to win. We’ve done a full tank all day long and working as much as we could.”

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