Toyota factory LMP1 driver Stephane Sarrazin has launched his own race team, Sarrazin Motorsport, which is set to debut in this weekend’s Tour de Corse FIA World Rally Championship round in France.
Sarrazin, an accomplished rally driver, will pilot his team’s new Skoda Fabia R5 in the event, with additional drivers set to drive for the France-based outfit later this year.
For the 41-year-old Frenchman, who is set for a scaled back FIA World Endurance Championship program this year in Toyota’s third TS050 Hybrid, team ownership is something that’s been on his mind for some time.
“I really wanted to create Sarrazin Motorsport and I’m glad that this wish’s become a reality today” Sarrazin said.”I was waiting for the right conditions; it feels it’s now time to go ahead, all lights are green.
“My career as a driver has allowed me to learn on different levels and aspects, not only through racing itself but also across many development programs.
“I’ve been involved in for several manufacturers and teams. My recent entries in rallying made that wish stronger, while also allowing me to discover new things because I was much more involved in the early stages of these projects, way beyond my role as a driver. It’s an important moment in my career.
“Toyota Gazoo Racing’s program remains my priority, as well as the FIA Formula E with Venturi GP, but I know I’ll be able to run the two in parallel and that’s fantastic. 2017 promises to be a great and wonderful year.”
The team, based in Cévennes, France, will initially have two Skoda WRC cars, as well as a Hyuandi i20 R5 at its disposal.
Sarrazin, meanwhile, hasn’t ruled out his team expanding into circuit racing in the future.
“Of course I wondered about racing on track vs rallying,” he said. “It made more sense to go for rallying, as that’s where I feel the most prepared and that completes my entries on track very well.
“Yet we don’t exclude racing on track at some point in the future. We’re open to all options and clearly we want to develop and improve in time.
“We’re going to grow one step at a time, wisely but with great ambitions.”