Fernando Alonso, the current driver for the McLaren F1 team, is set to make his World Endurance Championship (WEC) debut, and is looking comfortable behind the wheel. Alonso is with Sebastian Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima this season, racing for Toyota in the pinnacle category of endurance racing, LMP1.
Fernando Alonso Makes WEC Debut On Pole Position For Toyota
The #8 Toyota posted consistent laps at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps all race weekend, with Fernando Alonso having the fastest time in a Thursday practice session.
The Toyota team, which owns the #7 and the #8 car ended the qualifying session with a stellar one-two placing on the grid. It was announced later on that we would only be seeing one Toyota on the grid, at all. WEC put out a statement saying that the #7 car will start the race in pit lane, after being deemed “an incorrect declaration of Fuel Flow Meter which was a breach of Article 6.1.4 of the Sporting Regulations.” Despite Toyota still having pole position, they were no longer in an optimal start position as a team.
In a very unfortunate accident during the qualifying, DragonSpeed driver Pietro Fittipaldi crashed, suffering two broken legs. He was helicoptered out of the venue after a head-on impact at the famous Eau Rouge turn. This accident and events that occurred due to it caused the session to be red-flagged for some time.
The Starting Grid
Alonso and company will start on pole position, with Rebellion Racing on the front row with them. The Rebellion trio is lead by Bruno Senna, who won the LMP2 category last year for the team. Senna competed in January at the famous IMSA Rolex 24 race, which was also Alonso’s first 24 hour race, representing United Autosport in a one-off event.
Former F1 driver Jenson Button was a late addition to the WEC roster this year, joining SMP Racing in the LMP1 category. After taking somewhat of a break in 2017, Button found a career racing in the Japanese series Super GT.
Heading into the race tomorrow, the grid is set. Previously mentioned Toyota Gazzo Racing #8 will start on pole position, with the leader of LMP2, Signatech Alpine Matmut #36 starting 7th on the grid. In the GT Pro, the Ford Chip Ganassi team was able to get both their cars on the front row for their category.
The top AM car, the Gulf Racing UK #86 clocked in a time that was even faster than a PRO level car. The car in question is the #95 Aston Martin Racing, with driver Nicki Thiim, who has a cult following fanbase online.
The many classes in a race provides many different stories and perspectives going into the race. With many big names entering the racing genre this year, and more entries in the LMP1 class, it should be an exciting year for endurance racing.
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