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Toyota Sets ‘Super Season’ Lineup, Drops Davidson

Davidson dropped from race lineup in favor of Alonso for four-race program…

Photo: James Moy/Toyota

Toyota Gazoo Racing has confirmed its lineup for the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship ‘Super Season’, dropping Anthony Davidson from its full-time roster in favor of Fernando Alonso.

The McLaren Formula 1 team announced on Tuesday morning it had given Alonso permission to race with Toyota at Le Mans and further WEC rounds that do not clash with his grand prix commitments.

Toyota followed this up by confirming its full lineup, with Alonso taking Davidson’s seat in the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, teaming up with Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.

The No. 7 Toyota will race with an unchanged lineup of Jose Maria Lopez, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi.

As reported by Sportscar365 last year, both Davidson and Lopez had been under fire following poor performances in 2017, although the Argentinean revealed earlier this month he holds a “long-term” contract.

Despite losing his full-time seat, Davidson remains part of the Toyota fold after taking up the role of  reserve and development driver, supporting the race teams.

“I am looking forward to seeing how much Toyota Gazoo Racing will grow when our drivers and all team members take what they have learned thus far in endurance racing and add to it what they will gain from Fernando’s experience,” Toyota president Akio Toyoda said.

“The entire team is excited about this opportunity for growth. Through the challenge of WEC endurance races and, among those, on the grueling roads of the Le Mans 24 Hours, Toyota Gazoo Racing will do its best, together with Fernando, to outdrive the competition.”

“I am very excited to participate in the Le Mans 24 Hours for the first time. It is a race which I have followed closely for a long time and it has always been an ambition of mine to participate,” added Alonso.

“Endurance racing is a different discipline compared to single-seaters and it will be an interesting challenge.

“I am looking forward to working together with, and learning from, Sébastien and Kazuki, who are both very experienced endurance drivers.

“It will be a learning curve for me but I am ready for this challenge and I can’t wait to get started.”

Luke Smith is a British motorsport journalist who has served as NBC Sports’ lead Formula 1 writer since 2013, as well as working on its online sports car coverage.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Blaneysellstrashbags@Ring24

    January 30, 2018 at 7:48 am

    Alright…alright

  2. Edo

    January 30, 2018 at 8:04 am

    I was expecting Lopez dropped. Davidson is still faster then him

    • Andres

      January 30, 2018 at 8:47 am

      Seems like toyota’s hands were tied regarding Lopez and his “long term” contract. I’d expect Lopez to be better this year but I’ve always thought Davidson was really quick. Good for Alonso, seems like he’s enjoying getting out in different forms of racing.

  3. Travis McBee

    January 30, 2018 at 8:27 am

    Looking forward to seeing him compete, fingers crossed that he can still do Sebring in 2019.

  4. JaymondoGB

    January 30, 2018 at 8:55 am

    Keep Lopez and dump Davison ? did someone drop something on the team managers head or something, did they see how Lopez drove last season ??

    • TF110

      January 30, 2018 at 12:34 pm

      Yes, they saw he was fastest in the #9 car at Le Mans on his first try. He had one bad race in China. Lots of rookies do that. Nakajima in 2012 hit the Deltawing at LM. Lapierre still crashes even though he’s been in lmp1 since 2008(?). Conway had incidents in his first season in 2014. Kobayashi too in 2016 etc.

      • gtgianlu

        January 30, 2018 at 4:14 pm

        Lopez crashed at the very first turn of his Wec race career at Silverstone last year

    • Martin

      February 1, 2018 at 1:33 pm

      Lopez has been way faster than Sarrazin, consistently faster than Davidson and usually faster than Nakajima. The team has all the data. You can teach a driver how to manage traffic but you can’t teach him to be faster. That is Toyota’s bet. Having said this, Lopez needs to deliver spotlessly this year. If that were not the case, he will be replaced.

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