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Laurent to Depart Rebellion Amid Toyota Reserve Deal

Thomas Laurent confirms Rebellion exit amid Toyota reserve deal; looking for LMP2 drive…

Photo: Rebellion Racing

Thomas Laurent will depart Rebellion Racing after the 24 Hours of Le Mans in order to focus on his new test and reserve driver role with Toyota Gazoo Racing, although the Frenchman revealed he is searching for an LMP2 seat next season.

The 21-year-old is unable to continue with the Anglo-Swiss squad due to his new Toyota role, which could see him make selected FIA World Endurance Championship race starts in 2019-20 if the any of the Toyota’s full-season drivers face clashes.

But without a full-season LMP1 drive, Laurent said he’s still determined to stay in the paddock for the rest of the season, and is looking for an LMP2 drive alongside his Toyota program.

“For next season, with Rebellion, it’s done,” Laurent told Sportscar365. “I cannot drive anymore with an LMP1 team because I am in contract with Toyota.

“I will be focused on trying to find an LMP2 seat for next season and I’m already in contact with a team.

“I will push for it, because it’s important to stay connected with the race weekends, and Toyota is pushing for it as well.

“I’m really interested to see what the future will be and let’s see what happens.”

While he wouldn’t reveal the identity of the LMP2 team he’s in talks with, Sportscar365 understands it could be Signatech Alpine Matmut.

He would likely be the replacement for longtime Sigantech driver Nico Lapierre, who will join Cool Racing’s new LMP2 campaign for 2019-20.

“You will see, maybe in a few days, in a few weeks,” Laurent said. “It’s not a bad LMP2 team, and it can be for the win.”

Laurent Poised for Toyota Race Outings

It’s likely that Laurent could end up racing the Toyota TS050 Hybrid, with possible clashes between WEC and the ABB FIA Formula E Championship on the Sebring and Spa weekends. 

Both Sebastien Buemi and Jose Maria Lopez could be caught up in clashes between their Toyota WEC commitments and their respective Formula E teams.

The full 2019-20 Formula E schedule will be released on Friday.

“If someone is missing the race, I’m the one who will replace the driver,” Laurent explained. “I’m not hoping for that because it will be a mess for Toyota to have a driver clash for the Formula E.

“I just want to focus on the development of the car, on the new car as well for the new season in one year. If I have the chance to do one race, it would be with pleasure, of course.

“LMP2 is really good for me. I have one year to get used to the Toyota team and that’s a good thing.

“If I’m still there in two years, that’s what I hope, I will be more than ready to have a proper race.”

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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