F1’s golden oldies

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NASCAR driver Morgan Shepherd is set to make history this weekend by becoming the oldest driver ever to compete in the series. The 71-year-old will join the field at New Hampshire.

In his eighth decade, Shepherd outstrips by far the oldest drivers who’ve successfully competed in Formula One:

Oldest F1 driver to… start a race
Louis Chiron: 55 years, 309 days

The record for the oldest driver ever to compete in a Formula One race belongs to Louis Chiron. He was over a decade and a half Shepherd’s junior when he started the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix for Lancia. Chiron completed 95 of the 100 laps and finished sixth.

Oldest F1 driver to… win a race
Luigi Fagioli: 53 years, 35 days

The ‘Abruzzi robber’ reluctantly handed his Alfa-Romeo to team mate Juan-Manuel Fangio at Reims in 1951, who went on to win. Fagioli shared the triumph, also becoming the oldest driver ever to finish on the podium. But he turned his back on grand prix racing after that race, and died after a crash at Monaco the following year.

Oldest F1 driver to… set pole position
Giuseppe Farina: 47 years, 90 days

The original world champion put his Ferrari on pole position for the Argentinean Grand Prix in 1954. But he finished second in the race to his former team mate – and home hero – Fangio.

Oldest F1 driver to… win the world championship
Juan Manuel Fangio: 46 years, 53 days

The driver even his rivals called ‘Maestro’ won his fifth and final world championship with one of the finest drives the sport has ever seen. Driving his Maserati 250F at the Nurburgring Nordschleife, Fangio overcame a huge delay during a mid-race pit stop to catch and pass the Ferraris of Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins to win the race and the title.

Oldest F1 driver to… start the last race
Mark Webber, 36 years, 323 says

Formula One is a young man’s game these days. But Webber can console himself with the thought that he’s little more than half Morgan Shepherd’s age, so he still has a lot more racing left in him.

Alonso enjoys maiden Toyota LMP1 test, ends as second-fastest rookie

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Fernando Alonso took his first step towards a possible entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018 by testing an LMP1 car for the first time with Toyota in Bahrain on Sunday.

Two-time Formula 1 world champion Alonso has made no secret of his desire to race at Le Mans, having signed a deal to race in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January as preparation for a possible entry at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Toyota confirmed after Saturday’s FIA World Endurance Championship finale in Bahrain that Alonso would be testing its TS050 Hybrid LMP1 car in the traditional rookie test on Sunday.

Alonso was given the car for the bulk of the five-hour test day following an initial shakedown by Sebastien Buemi, completing 113 laps in total – more than any other driver – and posting a best lap time of 1:43.013.

“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.”

However, Alonso did not finish as the fastest rookie, with that honor instead going to Pietro Fittipaldi, who was the final driver to drive the Porsche 919 Hybrid ahead of the closure of the German marque’s LMP1 program.

Alonso is now set to head back to Europe before a test in United Autosports’ LMP2 car on Tuesday as part of his Daytona preparation, before then returning to the Middle East for the F1 season finale in Abu Dhabi next weekend.