Toyota Gazoo Racing has signed Nyck de Vries to a full-time role for the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship season, replacing Jose Maria Lopez.
The Dutch driver will team up with Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi aboard the No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid, while the No. 8 car will be piloted by the unchanged lineup of Brendon Hartley, Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa.
Toyota protege Ritomo Miyata will serve as reserve driver, combining his role with a program in the European Le Mans Series with Cool Racing.
De Vries last raced in WEC in a full season capacity during the 2019-20 season, when he competed with Racing Team Nederland and took an LMP2 class win at the 6 Hours of Fuji.
The Dutchman steps back into sports car racing for the first time since his short-lived Formula 1 stint with Scuderia AlphaTauri, where he was dismissed after ten races.
His move to F1 initially severed ties with Toyota, where De Vries served as reserve driver before joining AlphaTauri.
De Vries will dovetail his WEC commitments with a program in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship with Mahindra Racing.
“I am super excited to be returning to endurance racing, especially with Toyota Gazoo Racing,” said De Vries.
“Endurance racing is something that I have always enjoyed and it is a discipline with incredible momentum at the moment.
“I was with the team in a different role for a few years but never got the chance to race, so it is great that the time has now arrived, and I want to thank the team for their continuous support and faith in me.
“I am very much looking forward to sharing car #7 with both Mike and Kamui. They are both very talented drivers who achieved a lot, and I am sure we will make a great team.”
For Lopez, the decision to sign De Vries brings an end to seven-year stint as part of Toyota’s top-class WEC program. The Argentinean driver first joined the Japanese manufacturer in 2017 during its LMP1 days.
In the six seasons that followed, Lopez picked up a pair of world drivers’ titles (one in LMP1 and one in Hypercar) as well as 15 overall race victories, most notably at the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Lopez will remain aligned to Toyota, having been confirmed as part of the Akkodis ASP Team Lexus LMGT3 effort for next year.
“In motorsport, things are constantly evolving and it’s the same with driver line-ups,” said team principal Kamui Kobayashi.
“On car #7, Mike, José and me drove together since 2017, which is a really long time in any category. We enjoyed some amazing moments together, but also some tough times, particularly at Le Mans.
“I would like to thank José for his massive contribution, as a driver and a team-mate. He will always be a part of our Toyota Gazoo Racing family.
“At the same time, it is exciting to welcome Nyck back to the team as part of the #7 crew. We know from his time as our Test and Reserve Driver, plus his other racing, how quick and consistent he is.
“Next season again we have a top driver line-up in both cars, and this will be important when we face even more competitors in Hypercar.
“I am sure we will grow stronger together as a team over the winter, ready for the new challenge.”