Toyota Racing finalises 2012 driver line-up
TOYOTA Racing can confirm that Anthony Davidson, Hiroaki Ishiura and Sébastien Buemi will drive its additional TS030 HYBRID car at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The team’s full-time entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship is for one car, with an additional TS030 HYBRID confirmed for Le Mans on 16-17 June.
Anthony Davidson, from Great Britain, is a winner of the Sebring 12 Hours and the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, bringing significant recent experience of manufacturer participation at Le Mans.
Hiroaki Ishiura joins following a promising career in the competitive Super GT series in his native Japan, while he has also experienced European endurance racing having participated in the 2011 Nürburgring 24 Hours.
Swiss driver Sébastien Buemi, an accomplished single-seater racer, will make his debut in endurance racing at the wheel of the TOYOTA TS030 HYBRID whilst remaining third driver for Red Bull Racing in Formula 1.
The driver line-up for the regular TS030 HYBRID which will participate in the FIA World Endurance Championship from the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (5 May) onwards is already confirmed as Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima. Andrea Caldarelli is the team’s junior driver.
Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Team President: “This is an exciting driver line-up for our additional car. Anthony, Hiroaki and Sébastien are talented and intelligent drivers who have achieved plenty already in motorsport, so we are very confident they can make a positive contribution to TOYOTA Racing. Our drivers are selected on the basis not only of their speed and consistency, but also their ability to work well within a team and it’s been great to see the positive attitude all three have already brought to our project. Combined with our regular line-up of Alex, Nicolas and Kazuki, I believe we have a really strong team of drivers who will fly the TOYOTA Racing flag with pride during the Le Mans 24 Hours.”
Anthony Davidson: “I’m really happy to be a part of the TOYOTA Racing team, and delighted to be returning to Le Mans this year. Competing at the Le Mans 24 Hours is always hugely exciting, but to be joining a team like TOYOTA Racing and competing with a hybrid powertrain makes this particularly special. I’ve heard a lot about the TS030 HYBRID and the technology behind it, and I’m looking forward to experiencing hybrid power for the first time in my career. I know this is a learning year for the team but I believe TOYOTA Racing has huge potential, and I hope we can prove that at Le Mans.”
Hiroaki Ishiura: “This is a big opportunity for me to achieve one of my lifetime ambitions: to race in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Over the last few years I have done a lot of endurance racing so I am familiar with this style of motorsport but I expect the scale and speed of Le Mans to be something else. The TS030 HYBRID is already quite familiar to me because I tested the car at the roll-out; in fact I was the first person to drive it! It’s a great-looking car and seems to have strong potential so I am looking forward to contributing to its development. More than anything, I am looking forward to getting behind the wheel at Le Mans; I can’t wait!”
Sébastien Buemi: “I am really proud to be a TOYOTA Racing driver at Le Mans; it’s a huge event and one of the biggest in motorsport. It’s particularly great to be going there as a TOYOTA driver because my grandfather has been a TOYOTA dealer for over 40 years so I’ve basically grown up with the brand. It’s also exciting to be driving a hybrid car; I think this is the future and it’s nice to see TOYOTA pushing a lot in that direction. I’ve driven hybrid cars in the past – the first and second generation Prius – but the TS030 HYBRID is something else. I’m looking forward to racing it; LMP1 cars are fast and it’s a professional environment so it is going to be a very positive experience for me.”