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.”