Toyota Gazoo Racing has confirmed a shakeup in its driver lineups for the 24 Hours of Le Mans next month, with Jose Maria Lopez moving to the No. 9 Toyota TS050 Hybrid and Stephane Sarrazin taking his place in the No. 7 entry.
As revealed by Sportscar365 last week, the Japanese manufacturer had been considering the change, in the wake of Lopez’s accident at Silverstone which has resulted in the three-time WTCC champion gain limited running in the LMP1 contender ahead of his Le Mans debut.
Sarrazin, whom Lopez replaced in Toyota’s full-season lineup this year, will return alongside Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi for the French endurance classic, with the Argentinean now teaming up with Nico Lapierre and Yuji Kunimoto, who also makes his Le Mans debut.
Lopez will return to the No. 7 car post-Le Mans, as part of his full-season deal with the team.
“Our circumstances have changed over the last few weeks as a result of the injury to José María,” said Team President Toshio Sato.
“He is in the unfortunate position of having completed very few racing laps this year in WEC, so we all felt it was appropriate to adjust the driver line-up.
“I am very confident that Stéphane will fit well into a No. 7 line-up which can fight for the win.
“José María, like Yuji, will learn a lot at Le Mans this year, familiarizing himself with the track and the event in general, and this is an important step for the future as well.”