Wayne Taylor Racing has confirmed that Fernando Alonso Kamui Kobayashi will join its Rolex 24 line-up, partnering full-time co-drivers Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande in the No.10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R.
The addition of Alonso and his World Endurance Championship Toyota stablemate to the line-up leaves out IndyCar veteran Ryan Hunter-Reay, who joined WTR for the 2018 endurance races at Daytona, Sebring and Petit Le Mans and for Road Atlanta in 2017.
As RACER previously reported, the 37-year-old Spaniard will get a second shot at winning the 24-hour endurance race after finishing 38th overall in his Rolex 24 debut with United Autosports in 2018.
“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, whose confirmed 2019 schedule will also include a return to the Indy 500.
“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 1 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.”
The 32-year-old Kobayashi co-drives Toyota Gazoo Racing’s No. 7 TS050 HYBRID, earning back-to-back wins at the 6 Hours of Fuji and 6 Hours of Shanghai in his third season with the team. Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez sit second in the WEC Super Season standings on the strength of one win and second-place finishes at Spa and Le Mans.
“First of all, I would like to thank the Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team and Wayne Taylor for giving me this wonderful opportunity to race at the historic Daytona 24-hour,” Kobayashi said. “It is one of the most popular endurance races and I am so excited to have my Daytona debut with the 2017-winning team. This will also be my first race in the U.S. and I’m really looking forward to having a good race with the Konica Minolta Cadillac team.”
Team owner Wayne Taylor admitted finalizing his 2019 Rolex line-up took “a long time.”
“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,” he said. “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.”