Peugeot Sport refugee Anthony Davidson and ex-Toro Rosso man Sebastien Buemi have been signed by Toyota Racing, completing their six strong driver line-up for the 24 Hours of Le Mans (June 16-17).
The trio join Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima for the first year of Toyota's racing activity with the hybrid TS030 Le Mans Prototype. The line-up for the second car is completed by Hiroaki Ishiura, previously named as lead driver for the second Toyota entry.
Unlike Ishiura, who was the first man to drive the TS030 as part of Toyota's original team both Buemi and Davidson join Toyota after losing their 2011 race seats – Davidson after the closure of Peugeot Sport's 908 LMP1 squad while Buemi was deposed from the Toro Rosso F1 team in favour of rookie drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.
Of the three men Brit Davidson brings the most endurance racing experience with three starts at Le Mans under his belt – one with Aston Martin Racing, and two with Peugeot Sport, with a best result of fourth coming last season. His time with Peugeot Sport also included an overall victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring.
“I'm really happy to be a part of the Toyota Racing team, and delighted to be returning to Le Mans this year,” said the 32-year-old. “Competing at the Le Mans 24 Hours is always hugely exciting, but to be joining Toyota Racing and competing with a hybrid powertrain makes this particularly special.”
“I've heard a lot about the TS030 Hybrid and the technology behind it, and I'm looking forward to experiencing hybrid power for the first time in my career. I know this is a learning year for the team, but I believe Toyota Racing has huge potential and hope that we can prove that at Le Mans.”
Buemi, who will make his endurance racing debut after three seasons in F1 adds; “I am really proud to be a Toyota Racing driver at Le Mans; it's a huge event and one of the biggest in motorsport. It's particularly great to be going there as a Toyota driver because my grandfather has been a Toyota dealer for more than 40 years so I've basically grown up with the brand. It's also exciting to be driving a hybrid car; I think this is the future and it's nice to see Toyota pushing a lot in that direction.”
The Toyota TS030 makes its race debut in May at Spa-Francorchamps – Wurz, Lapierre and Nakajima piloting the lone entry in the second round of the World Endurance Championship.