Report: Sam Bird earns Starworks prototype chance

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GP2 runner-up Sam Bird will race for the Starworks Motorsport team in endurance events of the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, at Daytona, Sebring and Petit Le Mans. No official designation was provided by the team but a report indicates Bird will be in one of the team’s PC cars.

Bird has not raced in America, nor in sports cars, but is a prodigious talent and Mercedes F1 reserve driver who seeks his next big opportunity.

Peter Baron’s Starworks team has three entries in the 2014 TUDOR Championship. The team has two PC cars confirmed, Nos. 7 and 8, and is the second alternate entry in the P class with a Riley DP, No. 78. Baron has confirmed one of his full-season drivers, 28-year-old Spaniard Isaac Tutumlu, for one of the PC cars.

The Starworks team repeated its win at Indianapolis in 2013 with Ryan Dalziel and Alex Popow (pictured), and also won with its second car at Road America with Brendon Hartley and Scott Mayer. Hartley’s efforts with Starworks did not go unnoticed, and the one-time Mercedes reserve driver was picked up by Porsche for its works LMP1 team in 2014.

Dalziel, meanwhile, has moved on from Starworks to Extreme Speed Motorsports and its HPD ARX-03b P2 car in the P class for the 2014 season.

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.