Toyota LMP1 reserve Thomas Laurent back to LMP2 for '19/20 WEC

Toyota test and reserve driver Thomas Laurent will return to the LMP2 class for the 2019/20 World Endurance Championship, after signing with current championship leader Signatech-Alpine

Toyota LMP1 reserve Thomas Laurent back to LMP2 for '19/20 WEC

Laurent has been competing for the Rebellion Racing LMP1 squad during 2018/19, having previously finished as an LMP2 runner-up and 24 Hours of Le Mans class-winner in '17 for the Jota Sport-run Jackie Chan DC Racing squad.

The 21-year-old, who took his first outright WEC victory at Silverstone in 2018 after both Toyotas were disqualified, has now been confirmed at Signatech-Alpine alongside Brazilian Andre Negrao.

Laurent and Negrao, who won the LMP2 class with Signatech at Le Mans last year, are expected to partner Pierre Thiriet.

Signatech-Alpine team principal Phillipe Sinault said: "Thomas Laurent is the future.

"We have been following him for a long time since we gave him his first opportunity to drive an LMP2 car in 2016.

"The opportunity to work together came about, and we are delighted to have the best French Endurance hopeful with the same state of mind, the same desire and the same lineage that we have built with Nicolas in recent years.

"This was an obvious choice for us, and Thomas is showing a lot of confidence in us in joining the team for the next stage of his career."

Laurent's signing means there is no place for Signatech's long-serving driver Nicolas Lapierre, who won the 2003 Macau Grand Prix with the squad (pictured above) when it was known as Signature.

The tough choice facing a Le Mans 100 percenter

Lapierre has also won his class twice at Le Mans in Signatech colours, as well as the 2016 LMP2 title.

But Lapierre will join new WEC entrant Cool Racing, the team he races for in the European Le Mans Series.

Lapierre and his Signatech team-mates are currently four points ahead of the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA of Ho-Pin Tung, Stephane Richelmi and Gabriel Aubry in the points going into the Le Mans finale.

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