Toyota Gazoo Racing has revealed details of the preparation programme it has put in place for Fernando Alonso ahead of a possible debut at the Dakar Rally in 2020.

Alonso sampled Dakar Rally-spec machinery with Toyota in South Africa earlier this year in March as he continues his search for new challenges in motorsport since leaving Formula 1 at the end of 2018.

The two-time F1 world champion will step up preparations for a planned Dakar outing at next year’s event with Toyota. Over the next five months, Alonso will undergo an “intensive training programme” in the Toyota Hilux across Europe, Africa and the Middle East to familiarise himself with rallying.

Alonso will complete further testing in South Africa between August 20-23, before entering his first non-competitive event in the same country on September 13-14.

"In March this year, we completed a successful two-day evaluation with Fernando in our Dakar-winning Toyota Hilux in Southern Africa, which proved to be a valuable learning experience," Gazoo SA team boss Glyn Hall said.

"Not only did Fernando thoroughly enjoy the experience, but we could see him adapt and improve every time he got behind the wheel. It was clear that Fernando came to the test prepared and was ready to absorb everything we showed him.

"Rally raid is new for Fernando and I'm certain he has the skill and spirit to take on this challenge.

"As reigning Dakar champions with a long history in rally raid, I'm confident we can work well together with Fernando to build up his confidence for rally raid competition over the next few months."

Alonso remains determined to become just the second driver in history to complete the triple crown of motorsport, having added winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans to his Monaco Grand Prix victory.

The Spaniard claimed the World Endurance Championship crown at his first attempt during the 2018/2019 superseason campaign with Toyota and now needs to win the Indianapolis 500 to complete his goal. 

“I’m really excited to continue my adventure with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing,” Alonso said.

“Together we have achieved so much since I first drove a Toyota in November 2017, with our two consecutive wins at Le Mans, the World Endurance Championship for the team and a drivers’ title with my teammates Sébastien and Kazuki.

“I got a taste of off-road rallying earlier this year and it left me with a good feeling that I want to prolong.

“I knew it would be a totally different experience with a steep learning curve but the Hilux just felt great; it gave me so much confidence so quickly and I was improving loop after loop.

“I’m really looking forward to the next few months of training, getting to know the Hilux and working with the team.

“I’ve always maintained I want to pursue new challenges in different disciplines and I’m at a great team to do that.”