Fernando Alonso will contest the upcoming World Endurance Championship season with Toyota.
The dual Formula 1 World Champion will make his LMP1 race debut at Spa-Francorchamps in May, sharing the driving duties in the Toyota TS050 HYBRID with Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.
Alonso said he was excited by the opportunity to contest the world sportscar championship and in particular the Le Mans 24 Hour.
“[Le Mans] is a race which I have followed closely for a long time and it has always been an ambition of mine to participate,” he said.
“Endurance racing is a different discipline compared to single-seaters and it will be an interesting challenge. I am looking forward to working together with, and learning from, Sébastien and Kazuki, who are both very experienced endurance drivers.
“It will be a learning curve for me but I am ready for this challenge and I can’t wait to get started.”
Contesting both the World Drivers’ Championship, with McLaren, and the WEC with Toyota means Alonso will miss this year’s this year’s Fuji 6 Hour, held on the same October weekend as the US Grand Prix.
It’s set to be a busy year for the Spaniard, with a 25-race weekend schedule over eight months.
Alonso’s decision to commit to the WEC programme will make him the first F1 driver to contest an additional championship since the 1980s. In recent years the management of Formula 1 has vigorously discouraged extra curricular activities from its star drivers, a stance which has since been relaxed by new F1 owners, Liberty Media.