TOYOTA GAZOO Racing can confirm a modified driver line-up to optimise its competitive level in next month's Le Mans 24 Hours, the third round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi will now share the #7 TS050 HYBRID with Stéphane Sarrazin for Le Mans, recreating the line-up which finished second last year at La Sarthe on its way to third in the drivers' World Championship.
José María López has been able to complete only a handful of racing laps in WEC following his accident at Silverstone and resulting injury, which prevented him driving at Spa. He will now team up with Nicolas Lapierre and Yuji Kunimoto in the #9 car.
The line-up of the #8 TS050 HYBRID remains unchanged, with Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima competing together at Le Mans for the third successive year.
After Le Mans, the team reverts to a two-car entry and José María will return to the cockpit of the #7 car, alongside Mike and Kamui, for the remainder of the season.
Toshio Sato, Team President
“Our circumstances have changed over the last few weeks as a result of the injury to José María. He is in the unfortunate position of having completed very few racing laps this year in WEC, so we all felt it was appropriate to adjust the driver line-up. I am very confident that Stéphane will fit well into a #7 line-up which can fight for the win. José María, like Yuji, will learn a lot at Le Mans this year, familiarising himself with the track and the event in general, and this is an important step for the future as well.”
About TOYOTA GAZOO Racing in the World Endurance Championship
Toyota first competed in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 1983, marking the start of a long period of participation in endurance racing. Since 1985, Toyota cars have raced in 18 Le Mans 24 Hours races, achieving a best result of second place on five occasions. Toyota entered the revived WEC in 2012, combining the expertise from Toyota Higashi-Fuji Technical Centre, where the hybrid powertrain is developed, with Toyota Motorsport GmbH’s support and facilities for chassis development. The multi-national team is based in Cologne, Germany and includes engineers from Toyota’s motorsport and hybrid department, who deliver technology and know-how back into road car development. Since 2012, Toyota has earned 11 pole positions and won 13 races, finishing on the podium a total of 34 times. In 2014, the team won the drivers’ and manufacturers’ World Championships with the TS040 HYBRID while a year later Toyota celebrated 30 years since its first Le Mans entry. Toyota Motorsport GmbH combines its role in the WEC project with its other activities, such as the supply of a World Rally Championship engine for Toyota’s return to the category in 2017, as well as its engineering services business and customer motorsport activities.
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