Although Fernando Alonso has yet to confirm the rumors, it’s almost a certainty that he will compete with Toyota Gazoo Racing in the World Endurance Championship in 2018.
And he’ll do so with the full support of his Formula One team.
McLaren’s racing director Eric Boullier told RACER on Wednesday that he thinks the WEC campaign will benefit Alonso in F1, rather than serve as a distraction.
“In the end, I think it could actually be something good for him because it keeps him in a very competitive environment so that keeps him sharp for Formula One,” Boullier said.
Alonso recently drove Toyota’s Le Mans Prototype 1 car during the WEC’s rookie test in Bahrain. The Spaniard is expected to pilot the TS050 Hybrid during the first half of the series’ new “Super Season” — minus the 6 Hours of Fuji, as it conflicts with the United States Grand Prix — which will run from May 2018 to June 2019.
Boullier has said in the past that he would be opposed to Alonso running a full WEC schedule alongside his F1 commitments. But the Frenchman said he would take no issue with a four-round program, noting that Alonso — much like NASCAR’s Kyle Larson — has a constant desire to get behind the wheel of anything with a motor.
“He’s one of the drivers who needs to race, he needs to be constantly on it,” Boullier told RACER. “A lot of drivers are like this, they’re real drivers if I can put it that way — they would race 50 weekends a year. It also keeps them fit, keeps them alert, keeps them reflecting well. If you don’t race enough you lose your sharpness.”
The two-time F1 world champion is set to compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January as preparation for his potential entry in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Victory at Le Mans is one of the two boxes that remain unchecked in Alonso’s quest for the triple crown, having already won the Monaco Grand Prix.
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