Kazuki Nakajima’s chances of competing in the Le Mans 24 hours next month have improved dramatically after a back operation in Nice, France this week.
The Toyota GAZOO Racing driver had feared that his seat at Le Mans would be taken by fellow Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi after Nakajima suffered a fracture to the base of his back at Spa earlier this month, when he collided with the Audi of Oliver Jarvis in wet conditions.
Speaking exclusively to Motorsport.com, Nakajima said: “I had the operation on Thursday and left the hospital on Friday.
“Medically there is no reason to stop me racing as soon as possible but I will see what happens with my body but I can move almost normally, not 100 per cent, as I will need some rehabilitation but I still have the hope to be at Le Mans.”
Nakajima underwent an operation that involved injecting a type of cement into his vertebrae to initially strengthen and accelerate the healing of the fracture.
He could even race at the Okayama Super Formula round on May 23/24.
“They have said I can consider doing that race but I will have to talk closely and figure everything out with my team and the WEC doctors too,” he said. “I will take a day at a time for the next week or so and then see where we are after that.”