Le Mans win has Alonso eyeing Triple Crown

The Toyota TS050 Hybrid that Fernando Alonso drove in Sunday's Le Mans 24 Hours race. He finds a Triple Crown bid "very tempting".
The Toyota TS050 Hybrid that Fernando Alonso drove in Sunday's Le Mans 24 Hours race. He finds a Triple Crown bid "very tempting".PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LE MANS (France) • Fernando Alonso says attempting to win the Indy 500 and become just the second man to win motor racing's Triple Crown would be "very tempting".

He helped Toyota win their first Le Mans 24 Hour Race on Sunday with Sebastien Buemi and Japan's Kazuki Nakajima. The Spaniard won the race on his first attempt to give the Japanese manufacturer, which had at times seemed jinxed, victory on its 20th attempt.

Alonso, a two-time Formula One world champion, was the star turn as he became the sixth driver to complete the Monaco-Le Mans double after Tazio Nuvolari, Maurice Trintignant, Bruce McLaren, Jochen Rindt and Graham Hill.

Only Hill also won the Indy 500 for what has become known as the Triple Crown of motor sports and is Alonso's avowed goal now that he has slipped down the pack in F1.

"I went there (the Indy 500) last year without any particular objective. We were leading the race, we were close to victory, but we missed the opportunity," said Alonso, who was forced to retire at Speedway, Indiana, with engine failure 21 laps from the finish.

"The Indy 500 is part of the Triple Crown and it's really a very important goal. It's attractive trying to conquer it and see if you can be an even better and more complete driver."

Another crack at "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" next year might not mean leaving McLaren, who are mulling over an entry of their own. It could conceivably involve another season in which the 36-year-old skips the Monaco GP that clashes with Indianapolis, as he did last year, but that might not be the preferred option for either.

McLaren have Formula Two leader Lando Norris ready and waiting in reserve but will be reluctant to lose a driver who brings something special to the party wherever he is racing.

Alonso said on Sunday that he remained committed to the full endurance championship with Toyota until the end of next June, with the current "Super Season" featuring two editions of Le Mans.

"I didn't join just for the Le Mans experience. I joined the Super Season because I want to fight for the world championship," said Alonso, who has not won an F1 race since he was at Ferrari five years ago.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 19, 2018, with the headline 'Le Mans win has Alonso eyeing Triple Crown'. Print Edition | Subscribe