Fernando Alonso Makes “Amazing” LMP1 Debut in Bahrain
McLaren Racing’s Fernando Alonso got his first proper taste of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) this weekend when he took part in the series’ rookie test in Bahrain with the Toyota Gazoo Racing team.
Earlier in the year, Alonso expressed his interest in pursuing the “Triple Crown of Motorsports,” which consists of winning the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indy 500, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the first of which he has already achieved.
Formula One drivers are normally busy enough throughout the racing season and either not willing or permitted to race in other series, but McLaren, who was keen on retaining Alonso’s driving skills for the upcoming Formula One season, has been giving him a lot of leeway. He already participated in the 101st running of the Indy 500 this year and will be taking part in the famous 24 Hours of Daytona this coming January.
Two months ago, Toyota said it would be open to talking to Alonso about getting him a seat in an LMP1 car and it seems the manufacturer is staying true to that word, as Alonso has now completed 113 laps of the Bahrain International Circuit behind Toyota’s TS050 Hybrid LMP1 car, or 611 kilometers (380 miles).
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“It was a great day,” said the Spaniard. “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 sting 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.”
Though they look drastically different, LMP1 cars are in many ways the closest to Formula One cars in terms of sheer speed around a track. In fact, they accelerate harder than F1 cars, but the latter regains the advantage and then some in corners with their superior downforce and lightweight design.
With Porsche now out of the WEC, Toyota remains the only hybrid LMP1 car manufacturer in the series, making it the clear favorite for winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018 unless the FIA intervene to bring in some competition.
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