Barcelona could remain Spain’s lone Grand Prix

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Playing down talks of alternating the Spanish Grand Prix with the city of Valencia in 2014, Circuit de Catalunya general manager Salvador Servia says that his Barcelona track is already hard at work toward hosting the event themselves next season.

“We are working on next year; we have already published the ticket prices for 2014,” Servia told Reuters’ Keith Weir on Saturday. “We have done 23 years of Formula One and our objective is to do another 23 years.”

Fueled by the success and popularity of native son Fernando Alonso, Valencia’s street circuit staged a second Formula One event for the country: The European Grand Prix, from 2008 to 2012. But with Spain battling through an economic crisis, the decision was made last year to have both tracks alternate the country’s Grand Prix from 2013 onwards.

However, according to Autoweek, Valencia’s regional government has not yet decided whether to utilize its option to stage their home event next season.

Meanwhile, as the Valencia group tries to figure out their situation, Catalunya is relying this weekend on a healthy turnout of international fans — some of which, per Servia, are combining the race with a weekend holiday in either Barcelona or the nearby Spanish coast — to cancel out the effects of selling lower-priced tickets for locals.

“Last year we started selling overseas, targeting travel agencies and tour operators and we carried the same way this year,” Servia told Reuters. “We have sold quite a lot in England, Germany and France.”

Fernando Alonso confirmed for Toyota LMP1 test in Bahrain

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SAKHIR, Bahrain – Fernando Alonso will take his first step towards a possible entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans when he tests an LMP1 car for Toyota on Sunday at the Bahrain International Circuit.

McLaren Formula 1 driver and two-time world champion Alonso is hoping to appear at Le Mans next year as part of his bid to become just the second man in history to complete the ‘Triple Crown of Motorsport’.

Alonso has already completed one leg by winning the Monaco Grand Prix twice, and made his debut at the Indianapolis 500 in May with McLaren-Honda-Andretti, retiring late on due to an engine failure.

Momentum is building for Alonso to make his Le Mans debut with Toyota in 2018, starting with a first sports car run-out in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s end-of-season rookie test in Bahrain on Sunday.

Alonso arrived in Bahrain on Saturday to watch the six-hour WEC race as an invited guest of the Bahraini royal family, with his participation in the test being confirmed after the race.

“We are very excited that Fernando will test our car. When he visited us in Cologne everyone who met him could sense his enthusiasm and passion for our sport; he is a true racer,” Toyota Gazoo Racing team president Hisatake Murata said.

“We very much respect his interest in different forms of motorsport and it is a pleasure to offer him this chance to drive a hybrid LMP1 car. It will be interesting to hear his feedback on the TS050 Hybrid.”

Alonso will share running in the Toyota car with 19-year-old Thomas Laurent, who received a test as a prize for his star display during his rookie WEC campaign this year, while regular Toyota racer Mike Conway will also complete laps.