The World Endurance Championship has changed the date of its Fuji race to avoid a clash with the U.S. Grand Prix which would have prevented Fernando Alonso from competing at Toyota's home event.
The McLaren driver has signed up to contest the Le Mans 24 Hours this year and every round of WEC which does not clash with an F1 race. Originally, that had been four of the five races slated for 2018, with only the six-hour Fuji race presenting an overlap.
WEC has moved the event forward by a week to ensure the two-time world champion can take part. This week Toyota released footage of Alonso at the wheel of the car he will drive this season, with the Spaniard comparing it to a "rocket ship". He will partner former F1 drivers Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima in the No.8 car for this year.
Alonso's activities away from F1 continue his quest to secure motor racing's Triple Crown, which is victory at the Monaco Grand Prix, Indy 500 and Le Mans 24 Hours. With two wins in Monaco he has two stages left. He competed at the Indy 500 last year but retired due to an engine failure in the closing stages. On that occasion he missed the Monaco Grand Prix but, with McLaren expecting to be more competitive this year with Renault power, the team was keen to ensure he did not sacrifice any F1 commitments this time around.
The Fuji change means Alonso's 2018 remaining race calendar now looks as follows:
March 25 - Australian GP (F1)
April 8 - Bahrain GP (F1)
April 15 - Chinese GP (F1)
April 29 - Azerbaijan GP (F1)
May 4 - Six Hours of Spa Francorchamps (WEC)
May 13 - Spanish GP (F1)
May 27 - Monaco GP (F1)
June 10 - Canadian GP (F1)
June 16/17 - 24 Hours of Le Mans (WEC)
June 24 - French GP (F1)
July 1 - Austrian GP (F1)
July 8 - British GP (F1)
July 22 - German GP (F1)
July 29 - Hungarian GP (F1)
August 19 - Six Hours of Silverstone (WEC)
August 26 - Belgian GP (F1)
September 2 - Italian GP (F1)
September 16 - Singapore GP (F1)
September 30 - Russian GP (F1)
October 7 - Japanese GP (F1)
October 14 - Six Hours of Fuji (WEC)
October 21 - U.S. GP (F1)
October 28 - Mexican GP (F1)
November 11 - Brazilian GP (F1)
November 18 - Six Hours of Shanghai (WEC)
November 25 - Abu Dhabi GP (F1)