Alonso departs the WEC - replaced at Toyota by Hartley

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Fernando Alonso will not extend his involvement with Toyota in the World Endurance Championship for the series' 2019/20 super season, but the Spaniard is expected to pursue other opportunities with the Japanese manufacturer.

Alonso's seat in the Toyota Gazoo Racing LMP1 squad will be taken by former Porsche works driver and 2017 Le Mans winner Brendon Hartley.

"I have enjoyed being part of Toyota Gazoo Racing in WEC, but this chapter is ending," said Alonso.

"Winning the Le Mans 24 Hours [in 2018] is one of the highlights of my career as part of my triple crown challenge and I will always remember the victory we achieved together as a team last year.

"Now is a good time to take on new challenges and there are many interesting opportunities to explore within Toyota Gazoo Racing."

It's unknown which "interesting opportunities" Alonso is alluding to but one potential area where the 37-year-old could apply his talent with Toyota in the future is in the grueling Dakar rally-raid event.

In March, the McLaren driver enjoyed an off-road baptism of fire in South Africa where he tore through the sand and dirt at the wheel of a Toyota Hilux.

Before concluding his 2018/19 campaign in the WEC at Le Mans in June, Alonso will join his Toyota LMP1 team mates Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima at Spa next weekend.

But in between his endurance duties, the Spaniard will take his second shot at winning the Indy 500 with McLaren at the end of this month.

Alonso's replacement at Toyota, Brendon Hartley, will be in attendance at Le Mans this year as the team's official reserve driver.

"I know how professional and motivated this team is following my years competing against them in WEC, so I'm fired up and very happy to be joining them," said the Kiwi.

"I believe I am returning to WEC an even stronger driver following my experience in F1 and I look forward to getting on track and building a strong relationship with my new team."

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