Toyota junior Ritomo Miyata will make his European Le Mans Series debut next year, joining Cool Racing in the LMP2 category.
The Japanese driver, who recently became only the fifth man to win the Japanese Super Formula and GT500 titles in the same year, will team up with the previously confirmed Lorenzo Fluxa and a yet-to-be-announced third driver aboard the No. 37 Oreca 07 Gibson.
The move marks Miyata’s first foray into European competition, something that had been on Toyota’s radar since the Japanese brand relaunched its relaunched its FIA World Endurance Championship young driver initiative earlier this year.
“After winning both Super Formula and Super GT titles, I am very happy to take on this challenge in an international championship,” said Miyata.
“I am excited to join Cool Racing and to participate in the European Le Mans Series this season. Cool Racing has a lot of experience, so I look forward to learning about endurance racing in the ELMS and the characteristics of an LMP2 car.
“I will learn from team staff and teammates, and also do my best to contribute to the team.
“As a member of TGR Driver development program, I would like to thank Morizo-san, TGR staff and all the partners who created this opportunity and supported me to be able to race in Europe this season.
“I will do the maximum to meet everyone’s expectations.”
Miyata is the second Toyota-linked driver in two years to join Cool Racing’s ranks in ELMS competition, after Jose Maria Lopez raced alongside Reshad de Gerus and Vlad Lomko this past season.
“We are thrilled to continue this relationship and we’d like to thank Toyota Gazoo Racing for the confidence they put in our team” said team co-founder Nicolas Lapierre.
“Ritomo has shown his speed in all of the series in which he has competed, with many successes and championship titles. It’s up to us to help support him so that it’s also the case in ELMS, a new championship for him.
“This news fits well with our philosphy of accompanying young drivers. It’s both a certain responsibility and a nice opportunity to have such a talented driver with us.
“He will bring to the table his experiences from highly competitive series, which is good for the LMP2 class, itself known for competitiveness.”