Stephane Sarrazin will step into the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid for this weekend’s Six Hours of Circuit of The Americas, as a last-minute substitute for Anthony Davidson, Toyota Gazoo Racing has revealed.
The 2014 FIA World Endurance Champion will miss the sixth round of the season due to “personal reasons” with the Frenchman set to team up with Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, who along with Davidson, currently sit second in the LMP1 title chase.
It will mark Sarrazin’s third start of the season, after taking part in WEC Six Hours of Spa in Toyota’s third entry and moving to the No. 7 car for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as part of a driver shuffle involving Jose Maria Lopez.
“It’s a surprise to be racing the TS050 Hybrid again this season but I am excited to be back and I’m looking forward to racing with Sébastien, Kazuki and the whole team,” Sarrazin said.
“I know the Circuit of The Americas well and it’s an impressive circuit, with some great corners. I will give my all to score as many points for the team as possible.”
Team President Hisatake Murata added: “Anthony will not be with us this weekend but he has our full support and we look forward to seeing him behind the wheel again.”
While Toyota has utilized a two-driver lineup in the past for six-hour races, it’s believed the addition of Sarrazin is largely due to the extreme heat expected this weekend, particularly with the event reverting to a daytime race on Saturday.
COTA comes after another disappointing outing for the Japanese manufacturer, which saw both of its LMP1 Hybrids struggle for pace compared to Porsche, which scored a second consecutive 1-2 finish.
“We are happy that Austin comes so soon after Mexico, which was not a positive race for us,” Murata said. “Everyone is pushing to get a better result this week.
“The drivers are very motivated to get both cars on the podium and win races again; they fought hard in Mexico and never gave up.
“The whole team has this fighting spirit so we go to Austin with big hopes.”