WEC title more important to Alonso than second Le Mans win

Winning the FIA World Endurance Championship is more important to Fernando Alonso than notching up a second Le Mans 24 Hours victory before he leaves Toyota next month.

WEC title more important to Alonso than second Le Mans win

Alonso made the claim ahead of this weekend's penultimate round of the 2018/19 WEC superseason at Spa, where a victory for the Spaniard and teammates Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima would mean they could finish as low as fourth at Le Mans to seal the title. 

"If I have to chose one of the two, I would like to be world champion after winning Le Mans once already [in 2018], rather than winning Le Mans two times and losing the championship," he said.

But Alonso stressed that he would be "pushing hard" to win both his remaining races with Toyota prior to his departure from its WEC squad after one season, which was confirmed on Wednesday. 

"I have three big targets in the next month: one is trying to complete the triple crown at the Indy 500, then it is being world champion in endurance racing and then winning Le Mans again," he said. 

Read Also:

Buemi, who won the WEC title with Anthony Davidson in 2014, told Motorsport.com that he understood why Alonso favoured winning the title over claiming a second Le Mans win. 

"He's been a world champion in karting [in the Five Continents Cup in the Junior A category in 1996] and in Formula 1, so he now wants to win a world title in endurance racing," he said. 

"I believe we have been the better of the two Toyota crews over the full season so far, but I also believe that the title and another Le Mans win can come together."

Buemi also pointed out the dangers of backing off and driving for points.

"At Sebring last month when the other Toyota had its problems and we had a lead of more than a lap, I almost crashed three or four times because I got out of a rhythm," he explained.

"Sometimes it is much safer to push hard from the start of the race to the finish." 

Alonso and his co-drivers in the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid lead the world title race by 15 points from teammates Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez.

A win this weekend would give them an advantage of more than 20 points, but the points difference between first and second positions at Le Mans is only 11. 

Should Toyota continue its unbroken run of first and second-place finishes (excluding its double disqualification at Silverstone last August) through to the end of the season, it would then be impossible for Kobayashi and his co-drivers to win the title.

#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050: Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, Fernando Alonso

#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050: Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, Fernando Alonso

Photo by: Paul Foster

shares
comments
Spa WEC: Toyota almost 3s clear of privateers in FP3

Previous article

Spa WEC: Toyota almost 3s clear of privateers in FP3

Next article

Spa WEC: #7 Toyota beats sister car to pole

Spa WEC: #7 Toyota beats sister car to pole
Load comments
How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge kept Toyota clear Prime

How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge kept Toyota clear

Despite going stride for stride for pace at Portimao, Alpine’s grandfathered LMP1 couldn’t convert pole position into a sustained victory fight against Toyota. And due to rules and car limitations that are set in stone, the French manufacturer will be searching for solutions in its own battle of endurance.

WEC
Jun 14, 2021
Charting 100 world championship sportscar starts for Toyota Prime

Charting 100 world championship sportscar starts for Toyota

This weekend's Portimao 8 Hours round of the FIA World Endurance Championship marks the 100th world champion prototype start for Toyota. Here are the major milestones on the road to three figures since the earliest low-key days of its entry into the Group C arena nearly 40 years ago.

WEC
Jun 12, 2021
The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing Prime

The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing

Most of the column inches after the World Endurance Championship's opener were centred around the relative pace of the Hypercar class and the LMP2s, but there's another question that needs addressing in order for the new division to have a successful future

WEC
May 7, 2021
How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era Prime

How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era

Amid concerns that the new Hypercar class would be upstaged on debut by the spec LMP2 machines at Spa, Toyota delivered the pole and victory that the vast majority of observers expected. But neither car had a clean run, which gave the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 an unexpected shot at glory.

WEC
May 4, 2021
What to expect from sportscar racing's bold new Hypercar era Prime

What to expect from sportscar racing's bold new Hypercar era

A slim field of three cars will be entered in the Hypercar class for the first round of the World Endurance Championship's post-LMP1 age. But there are plenty of reasons for optimism with the new wave of manufacturer entries and competing class philosophies just around the corner

WEC
Apr 29, 2021
How Aston Martin scaled new heights in the Prodrive era Prime

How Aston Martin scaled new heights in the Prodrive era

The 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship kicks off at Spa this weekend, but for the first time since its 2012 inception there will be no factory-run Aston Martins in the GTE Pro class. That's especially notable because as a works entity, the Prodrive era of Aston Martin Racing that began in 2005 has been a success from the very start.

WEC
Apr 27, 2021
How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname Prime

How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname

Sportscar racing lost one of it's greatest talents 20 years ago today when Bob Wollek was knocked from his bicycle prior to the Sebring 12 Hours. The enigmatic Frenchman never won the Le Mans 24 Hours, but many still remember today why 'Brilliant Bob' became a legend

WEC
Mar 16, 2021
How Ferrari's Hypercar project could bolster Leclerc's legacy Prime

How Ferrari's Hypercar project could bolster Leclerc's legacy

Ferrari's planned return to the top category at the Le Mans 24 Hours has further heightened anticipation for the 2023 race. Few concrete details are currently known, but already it has a high-profile superstar angling for involvement, which would make a refreshing change

WEC
Mar 5, 2021