TOYOTA GAZOO Racing can confirm its full driver line-up for the 2017 season, with Yuji Kunimoto and Nicolas Lapierre joining the team for races at Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans.

Yuji and Nicolas will line-up in the #9 TS050 HYBRID alongside lead driver Stéphane Sarrazin in the second and third races of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season.

Yuji, 26, has a wealth of endurance experience from his eight seasons in Super GT and he wrote headlines last year by beating several world-renowned drivers to win the Super Formula championship. A former Japanese Formula Three champion, Yuji will continue to compete in single-seaters as he defends his Super Formula crown in 2017 alongside another Super GT campaign.

Frenchman Nicolas, 32, is returning to a familiar environment, having raced for the team from 2012 to 2014, earning TOYOTA's first hybrid WEC victories. Since then, he has established himself as a leading LMP2 driver, having twice won the class at Le Mans whilst winning the WEC drivers' title in 2016.

Today's announcement completes the full TOYOTA GAZOO Racing line-up for 2017, following January's confirmation that the #7 car will be driven by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López, while Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima will compete in the #8.

Toshio Sato, Team President

"I am very pleased to welcome Nicolas and Yuji into our driver line-up for the races at Spa and Le Mans. I am confident that, together with a driver of Stéphane's abilities, we have a strong line-up in the #9. We know Nicolas well and we have maintained a positive relationship. He is a very quick driver who understands what it takes to succeed at Le Mans so I am sure he will fit into the team quickly and easily. Yuji is a promising driver who has shown his speed and determination in Japanese racing. In testing he has been consistently fast, as well as a team player, so I am confident he will adapt to the demands of WEC."

Yuji Kunimoto

"This is really a dream for me. I never imagined that one day I could race for a team like TOYOTA at Le Mans so I am determined to make the most of this opportunity. I enjoyed my first tests with the TS050 HYBRID, which is a really impressive car. LMP1 and endurance racing in Europe are new to me so I am working hard to learn as much as I can from the team; I am sure I will learn a lot from Stéphane and Nicolas, who are both very experienced and quick."

Nicolas Lapierre

"It's great to be back with TOYOTA and I would like to thank the team for this opportunity. I'm really looking forward to racing an LMP1 car again because the cars have developed a lot since I drove the TS040 HYBRID in 2014. The Spa race is coming around very quickly so I am fully focused on preparing myself for the new season. I have stood on the podium before at Le Mans with TOYOTA so my target is clearly to do that again this year."


Yuji Kunimoto

Born / 12 September 1990, Yokohama, Japan
Marital status / Single
Height / 1.68m
Weight / 62kg

Career History

Formula Challenge Japan: 1st (8 wins)
Formula BMW Pacific (ART): 16th

Super GT, GT300 class (apr): 10th
Japanese Formula Three (TOM'S): 3rd (4 wins)

Super GT, GT300 class (apr): 5th (1 win)
Japanese Formula Three (TOM'S): 1st (10 wins)

Super GT, GT300 class (apr): 7th
Formula Nippon (INGING): 10th

Super GT (Kraft): 13th
Formula Nippon (INGING): 13th

Super GT (LeMans): 5th (1 win)
Super Formula (INGING): 10th

Super GT (LeMans): 7th
Super Formula (INGING): 7th

Super GT (LeMans): 9th
Super Formula (INGING): 9th

Super GT (Bandoh): 4th (1 win)
Super Formula (INGING): 1st (2 wins)


Nicolas Lapierre

Born / 2 April 1984, Thonon-Les-Bains (France)
Lives / Geneva (Switzerland)
Status / Single
Height / 170 cm
Weight / 69 kg

Career History

Began his career in karts

European Kart Championship, CIK Cadet Class: 6th

French Formula Renault

French Formula Renault: 8th (4th in Junior class)

Formula Renault Eurocup (Graff Racing): 3rd

Formula 3 EuroSeries (Signature Plus): 11th
Macau Grand Prix: 1st

Formula 3 EuroSeries (Signature Plus): 3rd (3 wins)

GP2 Series (Arden International): 12th

GP2 Series (Arden International): 9th
A1 Grand Prix (Team France): 1st (6 wins)

GP2 Series (DAMS): 12th (2 wins)
Le Mans 24 Hours (ORECA): 9th

Le Mans Series (ORECA): 12th

Le Mans Series (ORECA): 6th (1 win)
Le Mans 24 Hours (ORECA): 5th
Asian Le Mans Series (ORECA): 3rd

Le Mans Series (Team ORECA): 2nd (1 win)
Le Mans 24 Hours (ORECA): DNF

Le Mans Series / Inter. Le Mans Cup (ORECA): 1 win
Le Mans 24 Hours (ORECA): 5th
Sebring 12 Hours (ORECA): 1st

Le Mans 24 Hours (TOYOTA Racing): DNF
World Endurance Championship (TOYOTA Racing): 3rd (3 wins)

Le Mans 24 Hours (TOYOTA Racing): 4th
World Endurance Championship (TOYOTA Racing): 4th (1 win)

Le Mans 24 Hours (TOYOTA Racing): 3rd
World Endurance Championship (TOYOTA Racing): 6th (2 wins)

Le Mans 24 Hours (KCMG): 9th (1st in LMP2)
World Endurance Championship (KCMG): 5th in LMP2 (1 win)

Le Mans 24 Hours (Signatech Alpine): 5th (1st in LMP2)
World Endurance Championship (Signatech Alpine): 1st (4 wins)