Fernando Alonso undertakes "amazing" maiden LMP1 test in Bahrain
With the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship done and dusted after Saturday's 6 Hours of Bahrain, the five hours official 'Rookie' test took place at the Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday.
Among the host of drivers receiving a fantastic opportunity to test with the various outfits, whether the prototypes or the GT cars, two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso was one of them.
The McLaren driver had his first-ever run in the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 car, completing a total of 113 laps - running for 611km, with his personal best time of 1m43.013s, which came in the afternoon session.
“It was a great day," said Alonso after his run. "Testing an LMP1 car is always a nice thing for any racing driver because these cars are amazing to drive. 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.”
Alonso was partnered in the #8 car with regular Sebastien Buemi, but the Swiss driver was limited to just the 10 laps in the morning hour. However, the other regular driver Mike Conway in the #7 Toyota had an extensive run in the afternoon session.
The #7 car was driven by promising LMP2 driver Thomas Laurent, who completed 32 laps in his first run in a LMP1 car - posting his best time of 1m43.273s. Meanwhile, the best rookie of the lot was the 2017 World Series Formula V8 3.5 champion Pietro Fittipaldi.
The grandson of two-time F1 champion Emerson, drove the #1 919 Hybrid Porsche LMP1 car with Timo Bernhard, clocking his best time of 1m42.275s, completing 32 laps in total - after running both during the morning, as well the afternoon session.
The overall LMP1 times had Bernhad topping the day with a time of 1m40.244s, followed by Buemi with a time of 1m42.183s. Behind the WEC regulars was Fittipaldi, followed by Conway (1m42.381s), Alonso and Laurent.
In the LMP2 class, it was #28 TDS Racing's Konstantin Tereshchenko, who led the way with a time of 1m48.44s in the Oreca 07 - Gibson, followed by Gabriel Aubry and Nicolas Lapierre in the #36 Signatech Alpine - with respective times of 1m48.859s (afternoon) and 1m48.905s (morning).
Not only Tereshchenko was the overall lead driver in LMP2 class, but he also was the best rookie driver, with Aubry in second and Dutchman Rinus van Kalmthout third, driving the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing's Oreca 07 - Gibson - posting a time of 1m50.140s (afternoon).
Meanwhile, the #92 Porsche GT Team led the way in the LMGTE Pro class with Kevin Estre topping the day, followed the Prosche pair Frederic Makowiecki and Richard Lietz in the #91 Porsche 911 RSR in second and third respectively.