At this stage in his racing career, 36-year-old Fernando Alonso of Spain has nothing more to prove. He has won the Formula 1 title twice while driving for Renault, and has made tons of money competing for superteams like McLaren and Ferrari. Other accomplished drivers his age would be content to just cruise into the sunset and simply enjoy their fame and fortune.
Not Alonso, who clearly loves driving so much that not only is he continuing to participate in F1 but—get this—is even joining the grueling World Endurance Championship this coming season. Yes, the Spaniard will be juggling F1 and WEC responsibilities this year, although the former remains his priority (when an F1 Grand Prix clashes with the schedule of a WEC event, Alonso will skip the latter).
The lucky WEC team to secure the services of the F1 champion is none other than Toyota Gazoo Racing, which has officially announced Alonso as one of the drivers of its No. 8 TS050 Hybrid car, alongside Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima. Alonso has basically displaced Anthony Davidson, who shall remain with the team as a reserve and development driver.
The No. 7 TS050 Hybrid car will be driven by the same lineup of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez.
It should be noted that Alonso, who currently drives for McLaren in Formula 1, has no professional experience in endurance racing. But he should have little trouble piloting the 1,000hp TS050 Hybrid over long stints as he is still blessed with the physique and the stamina of a world-class athlete.
“I am very excited to participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time,” Alonso says in a Toyota Gazoo Racing statement. “It is a race that I have followed closely for a long time, and it has always been an ambition of mine to participate. Endurance racing is a different discipline compared to single-seaters, and it will be an interesting challenge. It will be a learning curve for me, but I am ready for this challenge. I can’t wait to get started.”
The upcoming WEC calendar is being touted as the “2018/2019 Super Season,” with two stops each at Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans. Alonso will not race at the 6 Hours of Fuji in Japan on October 21st as it will collide with the US Grand Prix weekend.
Here is the 2018/2019 FIA WEC calendar for all the Fernando Alonso fans out there who want to see him race:
- 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps – May 5, 2018
- 24 Hours of Le Mans – June 16-17, 2018
- 6 Hours of Silverstone – August 19, 2018
- 6 Hours of Fuji – October 21, 2018*
- 6 Hours of Shanghai – November 18, 2018
- 12 Hours of Sebring – March 16-17, 2019
- 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps – May 4, 2019
- 24 Hours of Le Mans – June 15-16, 2019
Add the F1 calendar to the above and Alonso has an extremely busy schedule ahead of him. Then again, maybe the McLaren driver is just really tired of getting lapped by Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel in Formula 1, and he needs to distract himself from all the soul-crushing humiliation he is forced to endure on a fortnightly basis. Who knows?