24h of Le Mans 2018: Toyota with Fernando Alonso?
If Toyota should stay loyal to the LMP1, the Cologne team could start with a prominent driver – but first of all a decision has to be made.
For the World Endurance Championship (WEC) it was difficult this year to produce positive headlines.After the Porsche exit, Toyota is faced with a difficult decision as to whether they want to continue as a one-man entertainer in the LMP1 category.The ACO has put a stop to a preferred mini-commitment from Spa, Le Mans and Fuji.If Toyota decides to stay, an interesting driver could be on the wish list: Fernando Alonso.
Rob Leupen, Managing Director of Toyota Motorsport GmbH, is open to the possibility, as he explains in an interview with’ Motorsport-Total. com’:”We are always interested in talking to top drivers.Pascal (Vasselon, Chief Technology Officer at Toyota; Noted.Red.) has a good connection to Fernando, which goes back to the Michelin times in Formula 1.Right now, we can’t say any more, but we’d be open to it.”
McLaren would also have no problem sending Alonso to France in 2018,”Le Mans 2018 is still too early for McLaren,”says Zak Brown, Managing Director of McLaren,”At the moment, we have enough to do to get our Formula 1 team back on the road to success.We talked to Fernando about it.Unlike the Indianapolis 500, Le Mans will not collide with a Formula 1 race since Liberty Media has reached an agreement with the ACO to that effect.
If Toyota stays in Le Mans at all,”says Brown laughing.And that’s the big topic: Toyota has not yet decided how to proceed in the WEC “super season” 2018/19, but before we start thinking about drivers, we have to look at our 2018/19 program.Only when this decision has been made can such issues be dealt with,”Leupen replies to inquiry.
Fernando Alonso has often indicated that he is interested in the “Grand Slam” of motorsport.He has so far had two victories in the 2006 and 2007 Monaco Grand Prix.For the “Triple Crown” he would have to win the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.Only Graham Hill has been able to achieve this so far – at a time when it was a matter of course for a Formula 1 driver to compete in different championships at the same time.Alonso was the starter at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2014.