Toyota Gazoo Racing has confirmed Fernando Alonso will depart its LMP1 line-up at the end of the FIA World Endurance Championship season in June.

Two-time Formula 1 world champion Alonso linked up with Toyota at the start of the 2018-19 WEC season, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans on debut at the race alongside Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.

Alonso enters the penultimate round of the WEC campaign leading the drivers' championship jointly with Buemi and Nakajima, but has shifted his focus to his upcoming Indianapolis 500 entry as he bids to complete the 'triple crown of motorsport'.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Toyota confirmed that Alonso will exit its WEC line-up for the 19-20 campaign, with two-time WEC champion and 2017 Le Mans winner Hartley taking his seat.

Toyota confirmed Alonso "will explore new motorsport adventures within the Toyota Gazoo Racing family", most likely pointing towards an entry to the Dakar Rally in the future following a recent test.

"I have enjoyed being part of Toyota Gazoo Racing in WEC but this chapter is ending. Winning Le Mans is one of the highlights of my career as part of my Triple Crown challenge and I will always remember that victory which we achieved together as a team last year," Alonso said.

"Now is a good time to take on new challenges and there are many interesting opportunities to explore within Toyota Gazoo Racing. I wish Brendon all the best for next season and I would like to thank all the team members for the big effort they continue to make to achieve success in WEC.

"We still have two important races remaining as we are still in the fight to become WEC World Champions and I will be pushing hard to win both of them. I would love to put an end to this super season by celebrating a new world title with all the Toyota Gazoo Racing family. Finally, I'd like to take the opportunity to say thanks to all WEC and ACO members for such a warm welcome and experience."

Hartley is the only change in Toyota's line-up for next season as he joins Buemi and Nakajima, with the second car roster of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez remaining unchanged.

"A big thanks to Toyota Racing for giving me this opportunity. I know how professional and motivated this team is following my years competing against them in WEC, so I am fired up and am very happy to be joining them," Hartley said.

"I believe I am returning to WEC an even stronger driver following my experience in Formula 1 and I look forward to getting on track and building a strong relationship with my new team. I can't wait to get behind the wheel of the TS050 HYBRID; the first tests can't come soon enough."

Hartley will make his first appearance for Toyota at the Le Mans test day on June 2, and will enter his first race with the team at the 4 Hours of Silverstone on September 1.

 

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