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Toyota Signs De Vries as Test and Reserve Driver

Nyck de Vries joins Toyota as test and development driver, replacing Thomas Laurent…

Photo: Toyota

Toyota Gazoo Racing has signed Nyck de Vries as its new test and reserve driver for the FIA World Endurance Championship until the end of 2021.

The Mercedes Formula E driver and WEC LMP2 race winner effectively replaces Thomas Laurent in Toyota’s standby role for its LMP1 program and will also assist with the ongoing work on the manufacturer’s Le Mans Hypercar which is due to debut next year.

De Vries, who currently drives for Racing Team Nederland in the WEC, will test the Toyota TS050 Hybrid in low-downforce trim at Paul Ricard this week.

Toyota will use the Le Mans-style aero configuration in the next two WEC rounds at Spa-Francorchamps next month and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in September.

De Vries previously sampled the Toyota LMP1 car during the 2019 end-of-year WEC rookie test in Bahrain, where he completed 43 laps.

The 25-year-old’s new position with the team will also involve simulator testing duties and being on call to replace any full-time Toyota drivers should they become sidelined.

“The feedback following his rookie test in Bahrain was very positive so it’s clear that he has a lot of potential,” said TGR team president Hisatake Murata.

“Along with our Toyota Gazoo Racing WEC Challenge member Kenta Yamashita, we have two very promising young drivers developing their skills within our team which is exciting for the future.

“I look forward to seeing their progress, and at the same time I wish Thomas Laurent all the best for the future and thank him for his contribution this season.”

De Vries burst onto the sports car scene with Racing Team Nederland in 2018 during his second year in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, which he won last season.

The Dutchman is now set to hold three separate sports car racing commitments, with his new Toyota deal and ongoing drive with RTN in the WEC accompanied by a recently-announced role with G-Drive Racing in the European Le Mans Series LMP2 class.

“I am really excited to join Toyota Gazoo Racing and work with the team again; it’s an honor to be selected as test and reserve driver so I would like to thank the team for this opportunity.

“Driving the TS050 HYBRID in Bahrain was a fantastic experience. At the time, I thought it could have been a one-off opportunity so it’s great to know I will be driving the car again, and even more exciting to look ahead to later this year when we start testing the new LMH car.

“I hope to contribute to a successful start to this new era for the team.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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