Kamui Kobayshi has been named Toyota Racing’s test and reserve driver for its LMP1 program in this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship.
The ex-Formula One driver, who drove for the Japanese manufacturer in its final season of F1 in 2009, replaces Mike Conway, who has been promoted to a full-season race seat in the No. 2 Toyota TS040 Hybrid.
Kobayshi tested the car alongside Mathias Beche and Jean-Eric Vernge at Motorland Aragon last month, making his return to sports cars after spending the 2013 FIA WEC season in a GTE-Pro class AF Corse Ferrari.
“I know many of the team members from my time with Toyota in Formula 1 so this feels like I am coming home,” Kobayshi said. “I have already tested the TS040 Hybrid and it is impressive; the hybrid technology is really advanced.
“It’s another important year for the team so I am looking forward to building a strong working relationship with everyone and contributing to the development of the car.”
The Japanese driver is expected to fulfill his role through the 24 Hours of Le Mans and then concentrate on his full-season commitments in Super Formula.
Nicolas Lapierre, meanwhile, has been retained by TMG for testing and development duties as well, but is slated to contest the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans for KCMG in LMP2.