Thuesday, 12 juny 2018, 12:15 , by Martin Macdonald
Fernando Alonso is hoping that he can put the disappointment of the Canadian Grand Prix in Formula One behind him when he takes part in Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend, as Toyota take their lead in the World Endurance Championship into the second round.
The Spaniard was eventually forced into retirement on Sunday in Montreal, and although McLaren have improved since moving from Honda engines in 2017 to Renault engines in 2018, they are still not close to breaking the triopoly of Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull.
Alonso will perform for Toyota in Le Mans, and he is aiming to put current disappointments with McLaren in F1 to one side for the time being.
"In Formula 1, we are not a contender to win the championship, even though we're much better than last year, which proves we're headed in the right direction," the two-time world champion admitted, during his media duties at Le Mans.
"Now Le Mans and the 24 Hours, an important race as it's the second round of the World Endurance Championship. We're in the lead after our win at Spa-Francorchamps.
"I've just arrived from the Canadian Grand Prix, the time difference is six hours, but it's only Monday so. I'm here now, already focused on the race and I'll be ready for the free practice on Wednesday.
"I wan't to take advantage of every minute in and out of the car between the sessions on Wednesday and the Drivers' Parade on Friday. I'm sure it will be very special."
Toyota has never won the WEC, but Alonso is hoping to bring glory to the team, envisaging a "special" race for the constructor outfit.
"I think it's going to be a very special race for me and for the entire TOYOTA GAZOO Racing team," he predicted.
"Our chances of winning are pretty good, it's true.
"We've done all the work, with plenty of testing this past winter, endurance and simulator sessions. Now, we just need to do a very professional race, with no mistakes, and we'll end up with a good result.
"The 24 Hours of Le Mans is a very special race, especially for Toyota who has never won. We are all focused on that goal. We want to bring Toyota to victory and make history.
"I really feel like the team is ready, more ready than ever! It's going to be a very interesting race I think."