Ex-F1 driver Alex Wurz called up by Toyota LMP1 team for WEC test

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

Ex-F1 driver Alex Wurz called up by Toyota LMP1 team for WEC test

The two-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner, who has retained advisory and ambassadorial roles with the Toyota LMP1 squad since his retirement at the end of 2015, has been drafted in for the official pre-season 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 in 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 LMP1 car since the official pre-Le Mans test in 2016 when he was the team's reserve driver for the 24 Hours.

A spokesman for Toyota told Autosport: "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'.

A veteran of 69 Formula 1 GP starts, Wurz was Toyota's first driver signing when it embarked on its return to the top-flight of sportscar racing for the 2012 WEC (pictured above).

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 Daytona 24 Hours when he drove a Riley-Ford EcoBoost DP for Chip Ganassi Racing.

shares
comments
New Aston Martin Vantage GTE for WEC passes 20,000km in testing
Previous article

New Aston Martin Vantage GTE for WEC passes 20,000km in testing

Next article

Ex-F1 driver Gutierrez's DragonSpeed WEC LMP2 deal falls through

Ex-F1 driver Gutierrez's DragonSpeed WEC LMP2 deal falls through
How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes Plus

How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes

Eight Formula E drivers made the 7,000-mile sprint from the streets of Jakarta to the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe and every one had a story to share at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite a range of triumphs and disappointments, each driver doubling up on the day job played a key role in their teams' fortunes

Le Mans
Jun 14, 2022
How an Italian junior formula giant is readying for its Le Mans future Plus

How an Italian junior formula giant is readying for its Le Mans future

Prema remains a colossus in single-seaters, but the serial Formula 2 and Formula 3 title-winning squad has joined forces with top GT squad Iron Lynx for an attack on sportscars in the World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series. Ahead of its debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours, its sights are firmly fixed on LMP2 glory – and a future in Hypercars next year...

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022
The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans Plus

The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans

Three young Britons will make their first starts in the Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend in the highly-competitive 23-car GTE Am field. But how did they get here? Autosport hears their stories.

Le Mans
Jun 7, 2022
The wingless wonder Peugeot hopes will restore it to Le Mans glory Plus

The wingless wonder Peugeot hopes will restore it to Le Mans glory

Peugeot went radical with the initial plan for its Le Mans Hypercar project, and then stuck to its guns. Here’s how things are shaping up a few weeks before the debut of the 9X8 in next month's Monza World Endurance Championship round

WEC
Jun 1, 2022
How Toyota’s sole survivor turned the tables at Spa Plus

How Toyota’s sole survivor turned the tables at Spa

After a chastening opening to the season at Sebring that ended in an enormous accident, Toyota's #7 crew got their World Endurance Championship underway with victory at a treacherously slippery Spa to make up for its sister car's Sebring defeat to Alpine, as Glickenhaus's promising qualifying turned to disaster in the race

WEC
May 9, 2022
The Chinese sportscar protege targeting a path to the top with Porsche Plus

The Chinese sportscar protege targeting a path to the top with Porsche

Yifei Ye came within one lap of winning the LMP2 class on his Le Mans 24 Hours debut last year, and his eye-catching 2021 has gained Porsche’s interest. With the German manufacturer preparing for a return to the top tier, the Chinese youngster is on the path to join it

WEC
Apr 14, 2022
How WEC got off to a stormy start in 2022 as rulemakers dampen Toyota's dominance Plus

How WEC got off to a stormy start in 2022 as rulemakers dampen Toyota's dominance

Toyota’s stranglehold on the World Endurance Championship ended at the 2022 opener at Sebring, but all accusing eyes were on the Balance of Performance system as the key to the shake-up. Here's how it unfolded, to see Alpine celebrating under a stormy sky having blown away the defending champions

WEC
Mar 21, 2022
Why Penske remains ambitious for its WEC learning year Plus

Why Penske remains ambitious for its WEC learning year

Team Penske is gearing up for its role in running Porsche’s LMDh programme from 2023 by entering this year's World Endurance Championship with an LMP2 car. Although the team is considering 2022 as a season to learn, it is no less serious about winning than ever - which should make the already fiercely competitive class even more so

WEC
Mar 17, 2022