Rainier Ehrhardt - Photo Editor
Toyota announces drivers for second Le Mans entry
Anthony Davidson, Hiroaki Ishiura and Sebastien Buemi will drive the second Toyota TS030 Hybrid entry at this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans. Toyota accepted the invitation from the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) for the June classic on the La Sarthe circuit for their two entries of their new prototype.
Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Team President said, “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.”
Davidson makes the jump from the Peugeot squad, who pulled out of racing earlier this year, while Ishiura hails from the premiere Japanese Super GT series. Former Toro Rosso Formula One driver Buemi completes the driving squad who will pilot the No. 8 Toyota Hybrid. The Swiss driver will continue his role as Red Bull reserve driver while making his debut in endurance racing.
With four Le Mans races under his belt, Davidson knows the La Sarthe circuit and will be a valuable asset to the team. The Briton is a former Formula One driver who made the switch to sportscar racing. With Peugeot he earned victories at Sebring and Spa. “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,” said Davidson.
Ishiura is also looking forward to this opportunity: “This is a big opportunity for me to achieve one of my lifetime ambitions: to race in the Le Mans 24 Hours.”
The Japanese racer has been is one of the drivers who took the car for a test run. “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!” Ishiura said.
Buemi was not shy about letting Toyota he wanted have this opportunity and even checked to ensure Le Mans was not on the same weekend as a Formula One race, just in case he landed with a 2012 team. The Swiss racer is excited about this opportunity as he said, “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”
"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," added Buemi. "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.”
The trio will be joining the already announced Alexander Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre, and Kazuki Nakajima in the No. 7 car. Toyota Racing will contest the inaugural FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) with their new LMP1 as they make their return to international sportscar racing. They will make their debut at the Spa 6-hour race in May in the No. 7 Hybrid.