Thomas Laurent has been selected to drive the Toyota TS050 Hybrid in the Bahrain Rookie Test, with the Frenchman set to be joined by the top-three finishers in the World Series Formula V8 3.5 series, as well as team-nominated drivers in next month’s test.
As revealed by Sportscar365 last week, the 19-year-old had been the leading candidate for the test, selected by officials from FIA World Endurance Championship, following his standout rookie season in LMP2, which included a class win and a second place overall finish in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Laurent and Jackie Chan DC Racing co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Ho-Pin Tung currently lead the championship with two rounds remaining.
“When the WEC gave me the letter telling me that I’d been selected for the rookie test, little did I imagine that the name Toyota would be inside!” Laurent said.
“It’s a dream for me to drive an LMP1, and what’s more a works Toyota.
“I’m very proud and I would like to thank the ACO and Pierre Fillon, the WEC and Gérard Neveu, as well as Toyota and Pascal Vasselon for enabling me to fulfill this dream.”
ACO President Pierre Fillon said Laurent’s test will be a “great reward” for the “brilliant progress” the rising star has made this year, having begun his sports car racing career in the ACO’s LMP3 formula less than two years ago.
“[Thomas] is climbing up the stairway of endurance racing put in place by the ACO and demonstrating its effectiveness.”
Laurent will get a minimum of 30 laps on the Nov. 19 test, set for the day after the WEC season-ending race.
World Series Driver to Fill Out Rookie Test
The top-three finishers from the World Series Formula V8 3.5 series, meanwhile, will fill the WEC’s three other nominated allocations.
The series champion will test the Porsche 919 Hybrid, with the runner-up placed in the WEC LMP2 championship-winning car and the third place finisher in the GTE-Pro championship entry.
Pietro Fittipaldi currently leads the title race, ahead of SMP Racing-backed drivers Matevos Isaakyan and Egor Orudzhev, who have won in European Le Mans Series competition in the team’s Dallara P127 Gibson.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for these up-and-coming drivers to show their talents to teams representing some of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers,” said WEC CEO Gerard Neveu.
“Just look at Porsche’s Brendon Hartley now in F1 thanks to what he has learned in LMP1, and Mike Conway moving up from LMP2 to Toyota as perfect examples.
“This Rookie Test will give Thomas and the World Series Formula V8 3.5 drivers an added bonus to their season, and potentially set them on a very positive career path within the endurance family.”
A total of five hours of track time will be available, include to other WEC teams wishing to evaluate potential drivers for next season. An initial entry list is expected to be released shortly.