Toyota Gazoo Racing has announced that last year’s Super GT runner-up Ryo Hirakawa will drive the Japanese marque’s GR010 Hybrid Le Mans Hypercar in a test this month.
Hirakawa will travel to Portimao to sample Toyota’s new FIA World Endurance Championship prototype on June 15-17, in the days after round two of the season at the Portuguese track on June 13.
Quarantine restrictions mean that the 27-year-old will miss the upcoming Super Formula round at Sugo, which takes place on the weekend immediately after his test.
Hirakawa is returning to the wheel of a Le Mans prototype after participating in the 2017 European Le Mans Series with LMP2 outfit DragonSpeed/G-Drive Racing.
The Japanese pilot won the 4 Hours of Monza with Leo Roussel and Memo Rojas, who went on to win the championship while Hirakawa missed out due to skipping two races.
Hirakawa, who also sampled the Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 car on more than occasion, contested the 24 Hours of Le Mans with TDS Racing in 2016 before returning with G-Drive the following year as an extension to his ELMS program.
His LMP2 drives came as a result of his status on the Toyota Young Drivers Program, although it did not materialize into an LMP1 race drive as Yuji Kunimoto ultimately got the nod over Hirakawa for Toyota’s third car entry at the 2017 Le Mans edition.
Hirakawa was the 2017 Super GT champion alongside Nick Cassidy and finished second in the standings during the next three campaigns.
Last year he was on course to take the title until his Toyota GR Supra ran out of fuel at the final corner of the last lap.
Hirakawa also finished second in the 2020 Super Formula series to Naoki Yamamoto.
He is set to become the eighth different person to test the GR010 after Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley, Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez, Kazuki Nakajima, Kamui Kobayashi and Toyota reserve driver Nyck de Vries.