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February 10th, 2012
Toyota has recruited ex-Peugeot driver Anthony Davidson and former Toro Rosso Formula 1 racer Sebastien Buemi for the driver squad in its second TS030 HYBRID.
The team recently announced that it would run a second car in the Le Mans 24 Hours alongside its single entry in the World Endurance Championship.
Davidson and Buemi will be joined by Super GT racer Hiroaki Ishiura in the car. Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima had already been signed for the full-season car.
Team president Yoshiaki Kinoshita said: “This is an exciting driver line-up for our additional car. Anthony, Hiroaki and Sebastien 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.”
Davidson had looked set to be left on the sidelines after Peugeot’s sudden departure from sportscar racing last month.
“I’m really happy to be a part of the Toyota Racing team, and delighted to be returning to Le Mans this year,” he said.
“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 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.”
The deal marks Buemi’s endurance racing debut. The Swiss driver has been retained as Red Bull’s F1 reserve after being dropped by Toro Rosso.
“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,” he said.
Buemi added: “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.”