Toyota Gazoo Racing have announced a number of changes to their LMP1 programme in the run-up to the 2017 season, with new additions to the driver line-up and three cars confirmed to run at Spa and Le Mans for the first time since joining the FIA WEC in 2012.
With last year’s heartbreaking conclusion to the 24 Hours of Le Mans still fresh in the mind, Toyota have upped their commitment to the famous race this year by announcing the entry of a third car at La Sarthe. This tactic has been successfully implemented in the past by Toyota’s LMP1 rivals, most recently in 2015, when Porsche’s third car took the overall win. The additional entry will run at round two of the season at Spa-Francorchamps and at round three, the endurance classic at Le Mans and will be anchored by Toyota stalwart Stéphane Sarrazin and two as-yet unnamed drivers.
Sarrazin’s replacement in one of Toyota Gazoo Racing’s two full-season entries is three-time World Touring Car champion José Maria Lopez, who will partner up with Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi, who finished third in the drivers’ championship last season. Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima, who missed out on Le Mans glory at the death in 2016, will continue to drive the sister car.
Toyota return to the FIA WEC in 2017 with a new and improved version of the TS050 Hybrid, which features an updated THS-R powertrain with even greater relevance to the company’s road-going models. The 2.4 litre V6 engine has also been given an overhaul, as have engine, generator and battery components.
Source: Toyota Gazoo Racing
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