Fernando Alonso and his 2018-19 World Endurance Championship co-drivers Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima might have won the Spa and Le Mans rounds this year on the way to the superseason title, but they triumphed only through the misfortune of the sister Toyota TS050 HYBRID.
Arguably Alonso's greatest performance at the wheel of a sportscar did come during 2019 (his ’18 Le Mans drive was the best of his superseason efforts), not aboard a Toyota but a Cadillac DPi-V.R Daytona Prototype international. His role in the Wayne Taylor Racing team's Daytona 24 Hours victory with Jordan Taylor, Renger van der Zande and Kamui Kobayashi surely trumped his super-impressive Le Mans debut.
Alonso was masterful in the wet conditions that dominated the race, most pertinently when conditions were at their worst before the two red flags. He pulled more than half a minute on the field first time and then overhaulled Felipe Nasr in the Action Express Cadillac before the red that finally brought the event to a close.
Alonso wants to prove he's one of the great all-rounders of motorsport. For many watching that weekend, he went a long way to doing that at Daytona back in January.
What Fernando did in that first rainy stint at the front was for me absolutely incredible. He was just driving around everyone. Holy mackerel, it was totally insane. I have worked with a lot of drivers who can find the limit very quickly in the wet, then make a mistake and back off. They go over the limit and work their way back to it.
Fernando was straight on the limit and then stayed there. The biggest piece we witnessed was how quickly Fernando could evaluate how deep he could brake into the Bus Stop in conditions where there was a lot of hydroplaning. He was just blowing people away. And all the while he was doing that, he was on the radio coaching our other drivers. He was trying to give them a heads-up about the conditions before they got in. It was absolutely incredible, but his final stints when he came from behind to win the race for us was even more outstanding.
He was running behind Nasr, who we rate incredibly highly and knows Daytona and the Cadillac very well, and was able to stay right behind him to put him under pressure. To run so close to Nasr in those conditions was so important in our victory. You can't see a thing and you have to rely on your instincts and the other driver's brake lights, but Fernando stayed right there. Nasr eventually made a mistake, so that's what won it for us: his ability to stay close and put him under pressure.