Toyota Racing approach 2017 Le Mans 24-hour with revised drivers line-up

  After the brilliant wins from the first two rounds of the WEC (World Endurance Championship) season, Toyota Racing have confirmed a modified driver line-up to optimize its competitive level in next month’s Le Mans 24 Hours, the third round of the WEC.

The last round at Spa-Francorchamps saw the team’s drivers Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima in car  no.8 and Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi in  car no.7 capture a brilliant 1 – 2 finish.

The win enabled Davidson and team mates to maintain top position in the Drivers standings, while Toyota top the rankings of the Manufacturers’ rankings, by 8.5 points from Porsche.

For the all-important Le Mans 24-hour, Conway and Kobayashi will now share the no.7 TS050 Hybrid with Stéphane Sarrazin. The combination recreates the line-up which finished second last year at La Sarthe on its way to third in the drivers’ standings.

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 no.9 car.

The line-up of the no.8 TS050 Hybrid remains unchanged, with Buemi,  Davidson and Nakajima competing together at Le Mans for the third successive year. “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 no.7 line-up which can fight for the win. José María, like Yuji, will learn a lot at Le Mans this year, familiarizing himself with the track and the event in general, and this is an important step for the future as well,” said Team President Toshio Sato.

After Le Mans, the team reverts to a two-car entry and Lopez will return to the cockpit of the no.7 car, alongside Conway and Kobayashi, for the remainder of the season.