Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso has really been living life since he retired from the series in 2018, aside from, you know, that thing that happened at the Indianapolis 500 this year. He’s been competing in all kinds of series and disciplines across the world, and the next up is the Dakar Rally.
That’s right, Alonso’s going off-roading. In March, he was simply considering a Dakar run, but now it’s official.
Toyota Gazoo Racing announced its lineup for the Dakar Rally on Friday, which will happen in January in Saudi Arabia. The team will have four driver-navigator pairings in the event: Nasser Al-Attiyah with navigator Mathieu Baumel; Giniel de Villiers with navigator Alex Haro; Bernhard ten Brinke with navigator Tom Colsoul; and Fernando Alonso with navigator Marc Coma. While the other three drivers and navigators have a list of rally accolades, Alonso is the newcomer in the group.
But in addition to his Le Mans winnings, other endurance racing and occasional IndyCar participation, Alonso’s been off-roading a bit too in order to get ready for a Dakar run. He’s been testing Toyota’s Hilux entry for Dakar, including in a four-day test in August, and his navigator Coma, Toyota said, holds five Dakar victories in the bike category.
In September, Toyota team principal Glyn Hall had this to say about Alonso’s progress, via Motorsport.com:
“This is the first test for Fernando in Europe with the Hilux driving on very different terrains and conditions compared to Namibia two weeks ago.
“As we progress through our intensive training programme, we are focussed on getting quality kilometres as Fernando continues to familiarise himself with the Hilux and rally raid, more so than pure mileage. Nevertheless, we were able to double the planned mileage for this test which demonstrates just how quickly Fernando is acclimatising to the Hilux. [...]”
Alonso will move to South Africa in the next few days, where he will race non-competitively in the penultimate event of the South African Cross Country championship.
May we all one day enjoy retirement as much as Alonso—minus the Indy 500 stuff, of course.