Toyota drafts in Stephane Sarrazin for Le Mans 24 Hours
|Saturday, May 26th 2012, 07:01 GMT|
Stephane Sarrazin will replace Hiroaki Ishiura alongside Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi in Toyota's Le Mans 24 Hours line-up, the Japanese team has announced.
Ishiura had to withdraw from the squad after experiencing back pain during testing.
A long-time member of Peugeot's works LMP1 programme, Sarrazin tested the Toyota TS030 Hybrid for the first time at Paul Ricard this week. The deal marks Sarrazin's return to the Toyota fold after being its Formula 1 test driver in 2002.
"I am really happy and proud to get this chance to participate at Le Mans for Toyota Racing," said Sarrazin. "I have good memories of working with TMG; they work very hard and it is a real pleasure to be back.
"It has been quite intense this week to become familiar with the team and the car, but I have received great support and I feel we have made good progress. It is a steep learning curve with a completely new technology and we will no doubt learn a lot this season. It's a new and exciting challenge for me."
Team president Yoshiaki Kinoshita added: "We are very pleased to recruit a driver of Stephane's quality and experience to Toyota Racing. He has a great knowledge of Le Mans and a proven track record, including two second-place finishes, so we are confident he will be a strong addition to our driver line-up."
Since losing his Peugeot seat when the firm closed its sportscar programme at the start of the year, Sarrazin has raced for the Starworks and Sebastien Loeb Racing LMP2 teams.