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Toyota Signs Rebellion’s Laurent as Reserve Driver

Rebellion Racing driver Thomas Laurent joins Toyota in test and development role…

Photo: MPS Agency

Toyota Gazoo Racing has confirmed Thomas Laurent as its test and reserve driver for the 2019-20 FIA World Endurance Championship.

The 21-year-old Frenchman currently drives for Rebellion Racing in the WEC’s LMP1 category and sits third in the drivers’ championship behind the two Toyota crews.

Laurent will assist with the testing and development of the Toyota TS050 Hybrid ahead of next season, which is set to be the car’s last in LMP1 competition.

“I am pleased to welcome Thomas to Toyota Gazoo Racing,” said team president Hisatake Murata.

“He is a very talented and consistent driver, which is particularly impressive considering he is still a young man.

“Based on his performances so far, I am sure he will continue his rapid development and become a real star of endurance racing for many years to come. Everyone in the team is excited to see his progress.”

Laurent drove the Toyota TS050 Hybrid during the WEC rookie test in Bahrain two years ago, following his 24 Hours of Le Mans overall podium finish with Jackie Chan DC Racing in an LMP2 car.

This led to Laurent signing with Rebellion for the 2018-19 ‘Super Season’, during which he and co-drivers Gustavo Menezes and Mathias Beche took victory in the Six Hours of Silverstone following the post-race disqualification of both Toyotas.

“It is an honour to become an official Toyota Gazoo Racing driver, joining a manufacturer team for the first time in my career. Thank you to everyone who has made this possible,” said Laurent.

“My focus at the moment is to enjoy a successful end to the WEC season with my current team at Le Mans, but naturally I am looking forward to driving the TS050 Hybrid again and being part of a World Championship-winning team.”

Toyota has already announced its driver squad for the 2019-20 WEC season, with Brendon Hartley replacing Fernando Alonso in the team’s lineup to join the retained Jose Maria Lopez, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi.

Rebellion, meanwhile, has yet to confirm its entry, although team principal Bart Hayden recently suggested to Sportscar365 that the team is aiming to be back on the LMP1 grid next term.

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

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