Fernando Alonso says he is “100 percent” certain he will return to the World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans after bowing out as champion with Toyota Gazoo Racing.

The two-time Formula 1 world champion has secured his third world title with a second Le Mans victory, albeit in fortunate circumstances according to Alonso, which caps a triumphant maiden campaign in WEC.

With two Le Mans wins and a WEC title to his name, Alonso will step away from endurance racing “to be more open for my options next year” as he sizes up the next step in his career.

“This WEC programme, it’s not for next year because I think it was hard to commit now to start the next season next month until June 2020,” Alonso said. “I want to be a little bit more open for my options for next year.

“I’m 100 percent will come back to WEC races in the future and Le Mans. I love this race, the championship, the atmosphere here. It’s a short break.”

Alonso has his sights firmly set on completing the ‘Triple Crown’ of motorsports with just the Indianapolis 500 out of his grasp to finish off his feat.

After a disastrous return to the Indy 500 with McLaren last month, where he failed to qualify for the race, the Spaniard has naturally been linked with IndyCar despite initially ruling out a full season campaign stateside.

Alonso also appears eager to maintain links at Toyota with speculation growing over a potential Dakar Rally entry with the Japanese brand.

While Alonso remain coy on his immediate future, he is eager to pay tribute to WEC and Toyota after a glittering single season in the series.

“I will say goodbye but this first chapter in WEC has been amazing,” he said. “This incredible team winning all the races with car 8 or car 7 and now being World Endurance Champion and a two-time Le Mans winner is something that I could not believe when I signed for this programme.

“I am happy for this and sometimes in motorsport you have bad moments and tough moments and sometimes you get amazingly good news. Today is one of those positive days.”

Two-time WEC champion and 2017 Le Mans winner with Porsche Brendon Hartley steps in to replace Alonso in the #8 Toyota alongside Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima for the 2019-2020 WEC season.

 

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