Photo: McLaren

Fernando Alonso to Race for Wayne Taylor Racing at Rolex 24

By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer

Fernando Alonso will take another stab at winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2019 as he secured a seat with the Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R entry.

Alonso will race alongside returning drivers Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande but there will be another new driver in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac as Kamui Kobayashi joins the team for Daytona.

“First, I have to thank Konica Minolta for yet again supporting WTR, and that I am extremely excited to have added Fernando Alonso and Kamui Kobayashi as teammates for Jordan and Renger at Daytona,” said team owner Wayne Taylor in a team release. “Both Fernando and Kamui are the cream of the crop of world-class driving talent, not only in F1 but as current sports car drivers. It’s taken a long time to put this all together and I’d like to thank everybody who made it all happen.

“Fernando drove at Daytona last year, and it’ll be the first time at the 24-hour for Kamui, who is a superstar driver who will figure it out quickly. We have plans to integrate both drivers into our program very efficiently and successfully. I’m absolutely ecstatic that we have been able to make this happen, and I can’t wait to get to Daytona.”

While Kobayashi has not raced at Daytona, he has finished second twice at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Toyota in 2016 and 2018. In 2018, Kobayashi was second to Alonso’s Toyota that Alonso shared with Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi. Alonso’s run at the Rolex 24 in 2018 was hampered with mechanical trouble, resulting in a 13th place finish in the Prototype class.

“I am very happy about joining the Konica Minolta Cadillac team and Wayne Taylor Racing to race together at the Rolex 24 At Daytona,” said Alonso.

“This is undoubtedly one of the greatest races in American and world motorsport. Returning to the United States is always special. The atmosphere created by the fans is unique throughout an incredible weekend. I really hope to fight for the win, as well as having fun and putting a smile on the fans’ faces.

“I made my debut last year both in endurance races and with these sports car prototypes, as well as on this track. I was left wanting much more after a brake issue ended our hopes of stepping on the podium. After an intense year in which I’ve competed in both Formula One and the WEC, I’m really looking forward to 2019 and attempting to conquer one of the most important races in the world.

“I’m brimming with hunger and desire and I can’t wait for the first race of next season and going out on track to battle with my Konica Minolta Cadillac teammates.”

Wayne Taylor Racing won the Rolex 24 in 2017 but retired after a series of tire failures in 2018. The Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona is January 26th-27th with practice and qualifying on the preceding days.

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A 2012 graduate of LSU, Christopher DeHarde primarily focuses on the NTT IndyCar Series and the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. DeHarde has actively covered motorsports since 2014.