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Double-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso turned rookie for a day on Sunday when he tried out Toyota’s world endurance championship car in a test that could lead to a Le Mans 24 Hours entry next year.

Following its victory in the Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain on Saturday, its fifth of the season, the team returned to the Bahrain International Circuit to participate in the annual WEC rookie test.

Regular TS050 HYBRID drivers Mike Conway and Sébastien Buemi were joined at the test by two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso and rising endurance star Thomas Laurent.

The rookie test represented the perfect opportunity for Fernando, who is interested by Le Mans as well as endurance racing in general, to drive a state-of-the-art hybrid LMP1 car. He completed a total of 113 laps in the #8 TS050 HYBRID, a total of 611km.

Sébastien’s driving today was limited to a 10-lap run in the morning but Mike had a busy afternoon session, taking advantage of the hot conditions to complete various tyre tests, completing 64 laps.

“It was a great day. Testing an LMP1 (Le Mans top tier) car is always a nice thing for any racing driver because these cars are amazing to drive,” Alonso said in a Toyota statement.

“They are very consistent throughout a stint which is a positive thing. I have wanted to test a car like this for a long time now and today I could achieve that so I am happy,” added the Spaniard.

Alonso, who will be racing in Formula One’s Abu Dhabi season-ender next weekend, posted a best time of one minute 43.013 which compared to a 1:42.38 set by Toyota regular Mike Conway.

The Spaniard had visited Toyota’s Cologne factory in Germany on Nov. 7 for a seat fitting and simulator session.

McLaren are partnered by Honda, Toyota’s big domestic auto industry rivals, but that relationship will terminate at the end of this season — leaving Alonso free to race for Toyota at Le Mans without contractual problems should he secure a drive.

Le Mans in June does not clash with any Formula One commitments.

Toyota have yet to confirm their continuation in the endurance championship, with champions Porsche pulling out, but are expected to stay as favourites to win Le Mans.

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