Wurz to return to Toyota LMP1 in WEC Prologue

Ex-Formula 1 driver Alex Wurz will return to the cockpit of a Toyota LMP1 car at the FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue test at Paul Ricard next month. 

Wurz to return to Toyota LMP1 in WEC Prologue
Alex Wurz, Toyota Racing
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050-Hybrid: Fernando Alonso
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050-Hybrid: Fernando Alonso with Alex Wurz, Toyota Racing
Alexander Wurz tests the World RX Team Austria Ford Fiesta
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050-Hybrid: Fernando Alonso
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050-Hybrid: Fernando Alonso

The two-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner, who has retained advisory and ambassadorial roles with the Toyota squad since his retirement at the end of 2015, has been drafted in for the Paul Ricard test on April 6-7 because three of the team's six race drivers are unavailable. 

New signing Fernando Alonso will be competing for McLaren at the Bahrain Grand Prix, while Kazuki Nakajima and Kamui Kobayashi will be racing for Toyota's Lexus brand at the Super GT opener at Okayama. 

Stephane Sarrazin, who had been under contract to Toyota for this season, has been released to join SMP Racing's LMP1 assault. 

It will be the first time that Wurz has driven a Toyota P1 car since the official pre-Le Mans test in 2016 when he was the Japanese manufacturer's reserve driver for the 24 Hours. 

A spokesman for Toyota told Motorsport.com: "Alex is an experienced driver who has stayed very much in touch with the technology and developments in LMP1 via his role as advisor. 

"As part of that role he attends all races and most tests, taking part in the various engineering meetings, so he is well qualified to jump back in the car and do a strong job for us at the prologue. 

"We didn't have to look far to find an extra driver when it was clear that three of our race drivers would not be available at the prologue."

Wurz, 44, will join regular Toyota race drivers Sebastien Buemi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez, as well as official test and reserve driver Anthony Davidson, in Toyota's pair of TS050 Hybrids at the Prologue. 

The ex-Formula 1 star was Toyota's first driver signing when it embarked upon its return to the top-flight of sportscar racing for the 2012 WEC. 

He took five WEC victories before his retirement, after which he played a role in the development of the TS050 leading up to Le Mans in 2016.

Wurz's last race outing came at the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona, when he drove a Riley-Ford EcoBoost DP for Chip Ganassi Racing.

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