Toyota Gazoo Racing has confirmed 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.
“Our circumstances have changed over the last few weeks as a result of the injury to José María,” explained team president, Toshio Sato. “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.”