Laurent could make Toyota race debut in 2019/20

Newly-signed Toyota LMP1 reserve driver Thomas Laurent could make his race debut with the Japanese team as early as the 2019/20 FIA World Endurance Championship season.

Laurent could make Toyota race debut in 2019/20

Laurent, who has contested the 2018/19 campaign for the Rebellion team, says he would be on call should any of Toyota’s regulars be unavailable for races next season.

Both Sebastien Buemi and Jose Maria Lopez face the possible prospect of clashes between WEC and Formula E, whose season six calendar is set to be revealed this week.

“I’m there for that,” Laurent told Motorsport.com. “If they have a clash or something, I guess I will be the driver do it. First they have to have a clash, nothing is decided.”

Laurent is expected to remain on the WEC grid next season as part of the Signatech Alpine LMP2 squad, which is losing Nicolas Lapierre after this week’s Le Mans 24 Hours.

Lapierre is set to join the new Cool Racing effort that is moving up from the European Le Mans Series for the 2019/20 campaign.

“I hope I will [continue to race in WEC] because it’s really important to stay in a race [environment], with the competition on track,” added Laurent.

“I will push to be in LMP2 next season with one of the best teams in the class for sure.”

Laurent added that securing a race seat with Toyota for the start of the 2020/21 season, when the new ‘hypercar’ rules are set to replace the current LMP1 regulations, is his target.

“I hope when I am a race driver [at Toyota] there is another manufacturer with us,” he said. ”It can be interesting to fight Ferrari, Aston Martin or someone like that.”

Toyota LMP1 team director Rob Leupen was asked at the recent Le Mans test day if he could foresee Laurent moving up from his reserve role into a race seat for 2020/21 season.

“He will be in our simulator where he can learn a lot, where he needs to learn a lot,” said Leupen. “He will do tests, so he will be one of the drivers to do that.

“He can jump in and we will then evaluate him, and then see if he’s the same driver that we expected him to become.”

Laurent first drove the TS050 Hybrid in the Bahrain rookie test day at the end of 2017 (pictured below), but admitted he is uncertain when he will next drive the car.

Thomas Laurent, Toyota Gazoo Racing

Thomas Laurent, Toyota Gazoo Racing

Photo by: JEP / LAT Images

shares
comments
Goodyear announces international return with WEC entry

Previous article

Goodyear announces international return with WEC entry

Next article

Hartley directly replaces Alonso in #8 Toyota line-up

Hartley directly replaces Alonso in #8 Toyota line-up
Load comments
The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial Prime

The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial

OPINION: After 24 Le Mans 24 Hours participations, 50-year-old Emmanuel Collard will be absent from the grid this year, stuck at the mercy of his gold driver grading. But, while he's not motivated by breaking start records, the French veteran is determined to return to the field next year.

WEC
Jul 24, 2021
How glitches threatened Toyota's unbeaten WEC streak Prime

How glitches threatened Toyota's unbeaten WEC streak

The FIA World Endurance Championship's long-awaited return to Monza posed the sternest test yet for Toyota's new hypercar. Although the Japanese marque's GR010 Hybrid remains unbeaten, the victory for Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi was far from plain sailing.

WEC
Jul 19, 2021
The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence Prime

The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence

Following the latest convergence connection permitting Le Mans Hypercars from the FIA World Endurance Championship to compete against LMDh entries in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship from 2023, it could open up enticing options not only to manufacturers but also for the calendar and race formats

WEC
Jul 13, 2021
How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks Prime

How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks

The screaming rotary-engined Mazda 787 is regarded as one of the most popular Le Mans 24 Hours-winning cars, but until its surprise success on this day 30 years ago it was never regarded as a likely victor. But that reckoned without a new technical partner, some canny political manoeuvring and a rival's bizarre self-inflicted weakness.

Le Mans
Jun 23, 2021
How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge kept Toyota clear Prime

How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge kept Toyota clear

Despite going stride for stride for pace at Portimao, Alpine’s grandfathered LMP1 couldn’t convert pole position into a sustained victory fight against Toyota. And due to rules and car limitations that are set in stone, the French manufacturer will be searching for solutions in its own battle of endurance.

WEC
Jun 14, 2021
Charting 100 world championship sportscar starts for Toyota Prime

Charting 100 world championship sportscar starts for Toyota

This weekend's Portimao 8 Hours round of the FIA World Endurance Championship marks the 100th world champion prototype start for Toyota. Here are the major milestones on the road to three figures since the earliest low-key days of its entry into the Group C arena nearly 40 years ago.

WEC
Jun 12, 2021
The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing Prime

The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing

Most of the column inches after the World Endurance Championship's opener were centred around the relative pace of the Hypercar class and the LMP2s, but there's another question that needs addressing in order for the new division to have a successful future

WEC
May 7, 2021
How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era Prime

How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era

Amid concerns that the new Hypercar class would be upstaged on debut by the spec LMP2 machines at Spa, Toyota delivered the pole and victory that the vast majority of observers expected. But neither car had a clean run, which gave the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 an unexpected shot at glory.

WEC
May 4, 2021