Fernando Alonso will get his first taste of an LMP1 sports car at the Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday after Toyota confirmed the two-time Formula 1 world champion as part of its line-up for the FIA World Endurance Championship rookie test.

Alonso is pushing for a maiden appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018 as part of his bid to become just the second driver in history to complete the ‘Triple Crown of Motorsport’.

Alonso is a two-time winner of the Monaco Grand Prix, and made his Indianapolis 500 debut last year, but will take the first step towards a Le Mans bow in 2018 on Sunday in Bahrain.

Toyota will field two of its TS050 Hybrid LMP1 cars in the annual rookie test, with Alonso set to share running with regular Toyota driver Mike Conway and LMP2 racer Thomas Laurent.

It is understood that the deal was not confirmed until the last minute due to complications in getting approval from Honda - a partner of McLaren in F1 - to let Alonso drive a rival manufacturer’s car.

Alonso will enjoy his first sports car race appearance in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January when he races for McLaren executive director Zak Brown’s United Autosports team, acting as preparation for a Le Mans debut.

Toyota is yet to confirm it will remain in the WEC’s LMP1 class for 2018 amid uncertainty about the future of the series, but is expected to continue with a two-car effort.

Following the rookie test on Sunday, Alonso will travel back to Europe for a maiden test in the United Autosports Ligier JS P217 LMP2 car that he will race at Daytona, before then returning to the Middle East for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.


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