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Fernando Alonso to drive Toyota LMP1 auto at Bahrain rookie test

Fernando Alonso to drive Toyota LMP1 auto at Bahrain rookie test

Pic: Getty ImagesFernando Alonso showed solid pace as he got to grips with a Le Mans prototype vehicle for the first time in a one-day test with Toyota in Bahrain.

Fernando Alonso appears to have given the clearest indication yet that he will compete in next year's Le Mans 24 hour race, by signing up to take part in Sunday's World Endurance Championship (WEC) rookie test in Bahrain for Toyota.

It ends months of speculation and hints that it would likely continue with its Toyota TS050 Hybrids into next season, despite facing no direct LMP1 hybrid competition following Porsche's exit.

The prospect of Fernando Alonso racing for Toyota at Le Mans this year moved a step closer after the Japanese manufacturer said he would test with them in Bahrain.

"Testing an LMP1 auto is always a nice thing for any racing driver", said Alonso.

8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050-Hybrid Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso to drive Toyota LMP1 auto at Bahrain rookie test

"Such a vehicle is not only fast but also very consistent", he was quoted by Germany's Auto Bild afterwards.

Alonso visited Toyota's factory in Cologne, Germany, on Tuesday for a seat fitting and simulator session.

Alonso completed more than 100 laps over the course of his rookie test, setting a best lap of 1m43.013s, which was just six tenths slower than Toyota regular Mike Conway managed in the sister auto.

"The Bahrain rookie test is the flawless opportunity for this and Toyota Gazoo Racing is honoured to run its 1,000hp TS050 hybrid for Fernando for an activity which will positively enhance awareness of endurance racing".

Also testing that day was Jackie Chan DC Racing's Thomas Laurent who finished second in the FIA World Endurance Drivers' Trophy title chase.

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