TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Confirms Driver Line-up: Fernando Alonso Joins
Toyota City, Japan, Jan, 31 2018 - (JCN Newswire) - TOYOTA GAZOO Racing can confirm its drivers for the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season, with Fernando Alonso joining the line-up.
The team has officially submitted its entry to the Automobile Club de l'Ouest and will participate in all eight rounds of the 2018-19 season with two hybrid-powered race cars as it targets victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours and the WEC World Championships.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will again utilise its 1,000hp TS050 HYBRID car, which won five of nine races in 2017. Development of hybrid technology remains an integral element of TOYOTA's participation in endurance racing as part of the company's commitment to making ever-better road cars.
The driver line-ups for the two TS050 HYBRIDs are now confirmed, with the #7 car competing with an unchanged line-up of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez.
The #8 TS050 HYBRID features a revised driver line-up, with Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima joined by two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso.
Fernando, 36, will make his LMP1 race debut at Spa-Francorchamps in May and will compete in all rounds of the 2018-19 season which do not conflict with his existing Formula 1 obligations.
Anthony Davidson, who won five races in 2017 alongside Sebastien and Kazuki, will remain an important member of the team, bringing his World Championship-winning experience to a new role as Reserve and Development Driver.
Two-time Le Mans winner Alex Wurz will continue as Team Advisor and Ambassador having made a significant contribution since taking the position in 2016.
Akio Toyoda (President, TOYOTA Motor Corporation)
"I am looking forward to seeing how much TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will grow when our drivers and all team members take what they have learned thus far in endurance racing and add to it what they will gain from Fernando's experience. The entire team is excited about this opportunity for growth. Through the challenge of WEC endurance races and, among those, on the grueling roads of the Le Mans 24 Hours, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will do its best, together with Fernando, to outdrive the competition."
Hisatake Murata (Team President)
"This WEC season is unique because it features two editions of the Le Mans 24 Hours so we are all looking forward to it. I believe we have an extremely strong driver line-up with real strength in depth. Fernando is a rookie in WEC but he brings speed and experience gained from many years at the top of his sport. We are all excited to work with him but endurance racing is a team effort and we know all of our drivers are performing to a very high level. I would like to thank Anthony for his professional approach in difficult circumstances; he remains a strong part of our driving line-up and he will be busy this season."
"I am very excited to participate in the Le Mans 24 Hours for the first time. It is a race which I have followed closely for a long time and it has always been an ambition of mine to participate. Endurance racing is a different discipline compared to single-seaters and I enjoyed my first taste of it at Daytona. I am looking forward to working together with, and learning from, Sebastien and Kazuki, who are both very experienced endurance drivers. It will be a steep learning curve for me but I am ready for this challenge and I can't wait to get started."
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) is the global mobility company that introduced the Prius hybrid-electric car in 1997 and the first mass-produced fuel cell sedan, Mirai, in 2014. Headquartered in Toyota City, Japan, Toyota has been making cars since 1937. Today, Toyota proudly employs 370,000 employees in communities around the world. Together, they build around 10 million vehicles per year in 29 countries, from mainstream cars and premium vehicles to mini-vehicles and commercial trucks, and sell them in more than 170 countries under the brands Toyota, Lexus, Daihatsu and Hino. For more information, please visit www.toyota-global.com.
Public Affairs Division
Global Communications Department
Toyota Motor Corporation
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