|Fernando Alonso showed solid pace behind the wheel of Toyota’s TS050 Hybrid at the World Endurance Championship’s rookie test which took place in Bahrain on Sunday.
The McLaren driver undertook his WEC LMP1 initiation – the start to his road to Le Mans – by putting 113 laps under his belt, setting a best time of 1:43.013 seconds which was within seven tenths of regular Toyota driver Mike Conway’s best lap.
Alonso’s endeavors beyond F1, which started earlier this year with his attempt at winning the Indy 500, remind us of a period in motorsport history when versatility was the norm rather than the exception among drivers.
We undoubtedly live in ‘specialists’ times, in which professionalism and commercial diktats confine today’s F1 drivers to their exclusive racing and contractual environments.
Kudos therefore to Alonso for venturing beyond his comfort zone in search for a bygone spirit which once embodied racing’s greatest all-rounders, such as Mario Andretti, Jacky Ickx or Stirling Moss.
Demonstrating one’s ability in different machinery and a variety of series requires commitment and a faculty of adaptation. But above all, it’s a reflection of passion and enthusiasm.
Regardless of Alonso’s chances of securing one day motorsport’s Triple Crown – winning the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indy 500 and Le Mans, his resolve should be commended, and admired.
As McLaren’s Zak Brown recently put it: “We’ve created a monster – a racing monster!”
A racing monster who follows his heart.
Phillip van Osten