Fernando Alonso will be doing some moonlighting this year.
Two days after completing his first career appearance in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, Alonso and McLaren Formula One Team announced today that he’ll compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well as run for the FIA World Endurance Championship in addition to his F1 championship bid.
The two-time Formula One champion will do his sports car endurance racing for Toyota Gazoo Racing, McLaren announced.
“I’ve never been shy about my aim of winning motorsport’s ‘Triple Crown’ – the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indy 500, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” Alonso said in a statement. “We tried for Indy last year, came close, but just missed out.
“This year, I have the chance – thanks to McLaren – to race for the win at Le Mans. It is a big challenge – much can go wrong – but I am ready, prepared and looking forward to the fight.
“In no way will this challenge take away from my main target of Formula 1 with McLaren. In 2018, my aim is to be competitive at every grand prix, and I feel sure that we are closer to achieving that.”
For now, the 36-year-old Spaniard is slated to compete in seven of the eight races on the WEC schedule, which kicks off May 5 at Spa in Belgium, followed by the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 16-17.
The only WEC race Alonso will miss is the 6 Hours of Fuji, in Oyama, Japan, on Oct. 21, which is in direct conflict the same weekend with F1’s U.S. Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Alonso is not expected to return to Indianapolis for the Indy 500, as it is run on the same day as F1’s Monaco Grand Prix.
“It’s no secret that Fernando has wanted to contest the Le Mans 24 Hours,” Zak Brown, Executive Director, McLaren Technology Group, said in a media release. “Last year, we came to the joint decision to go racing with Fernando at the Indy 500 rather than at the Monaco Grand Prix.
“But we’ve always said that we would consider each opportunity on a case-by-case basis, and we both know that, in 2018, our core priority is success in Formula 1.
“Like Fernando, at McLaren we’re racers at heart, and our team is built on a brave heritage of competing and succeeding in different forms of the sport. Equally important is the confidence that nothing detracts from our number one goal of Formula 1.
“After proper evaluation, we are satisfied that this campaign does not do that, and that McLaren’s best interests prevail.”