Alonso and Toyota start preparing for 1000 miles of Sebring 

Fernando Alonso moves onto the next challenge on his busy schedule, and just nine days after winning the 24 Hours of Daytona with Cadillac, he climbs back inside a racing car. From today until Thursday the squad will be testing for the 1000 miles of Sebring with his WEC team, the Toyota Gazoo Racing, at the Sebring International Raceway in Florida (United States).

The Spaniard runs behind the wheel of #8 car alongside Sébastien Buemi & Kamui Kobayashi, as the #7 LMP1 is driven by José María ‘Pechito’ López, Kazuki Nakajima & Mike Conway.

The Japanese team wants to be ready to face the Sebring’s race on March the 15th, the two-before-last race of the WEC Super Season 2018/2019. Even more so considering neither Toyota nor Alonso have ever competed in the legendary Raceway.

They know that the track of Sebring is very bumpy and dangerous and they want to get to know the track well in advance. To that end, Toyota has scheduled three testing days with Alonso which will include several development tests as well as a 30-hour race simulation, night-time relays included before the ‘checkered flag‘.

One of the main areas of concern for the engineers are the suspensions of the TS050 Hybrid, which will have to be adapted to the particularities (bumps) of the American track.

The Spaniard, having already earned his first trophy of the year, will go back behind the wheel of the Toyota after a month and a half. His last race on board the red and white prototype was the 6 Hours of Shanghai, on November the 18th 2018.

There, he finished second behind the Toyota #7 of Mike Conway, Pechito Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi. Alonso and his teammates; Kazuki Nakajima and Sébastien Buemi currently lead the drivers’ classification with 102 points, five more than their garage neighbours. 

The Spaniard will therefore make his debut at Sebring in March, a track with a lot of history and tradition in American motorsports. The Raceway, which was used as a military air base in World War II, has hosted the 12 Hours of Sebring since 1952, a race which, together with Daytona, is one of the most important endurance races in America.

Alonso in Italy

Alonso however, is not fazed by the magnitude of the challenge. In fact, before flying to the United States, he travelled to Italy last Friday to witnessed the premier of his team’s car, the FA Racing Formula Renault, driven by Javier Gonzalez at the Cremona Circuit. This visit is part of his role in the search and promotion of new talents.

The Spaniard spoke to the press in Italy regarding the issue of age and motorsports. He declared that he believes the former not to be an issue to continue in sports car racing. and gave Michael Schumacher who “competed until he was 43 years old” as an example. However, he told journalists that he has not yet decided which will be the next championship in which he will participate.

He has reminded the press that he still has no plans for 2020, but has assured them that he feels in great form. Also, and with a certain enigmatic tone, he confirmed he never said a definite goodbye to Formula 1, but rather a see you later.

He has also revealed he will be following the F1 closely, particularly as it relates to his friend Robert Kubica and to Charles Leclerc, the pearl of Maranello.

Forward in June 2019, Alonso will take part in the Indianapolis 500, one of the three races of the Triple Crown. Before that, however, the World Resistance Championship title will have to be decided, probably by the last race at Le Mans 2019.

Images: Toyota Gazoo Racing

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