Nicolas Lapierre will miss Toyota HYBRID Racing’s home race, the Six Hours of Fuji, this weekend due to personal circumstances.
Lapierre, who shares the #8 Toyota alongside Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi, will not be replaced on the team, leaving the #8 as a two-driver line-up. Meanwhile in the #7 TS040, Kazuki Nakajima returns after missing the Austin round due to his Japanese Super Formula program.
“Nicolas is taking a break due to his personal circumstances and the team will support him during this period,” said Team President Yoshiaki Kinoshita. “This was a decision we have taken together. Our driver line-up is close to completion for 2015 and beyond, and Nicolas remains a long-term member of our team.”
Going into the race, the team, who have won all of their WEC races at Fuji to date, one of which came amongst a monsoon, sit second in the Manufactures’ World Championship going into round five, just 18 points behind Audi after the German manufacture took victory at both Le Mans and the Circuit of the Americas.
“It is always a pleasure to race in front of our home supporters at Fuji,” continued Kinoshita. “This year we head to Japan not only determined to keep up our winning record there, but also to deliver a fantastic show for the fans.
“The rain last year was such a disappointment because it denied everyone what would have been an exciting battle, but the fans showed real spirit despite everything. This year I hope the weather is kinder and we can give them something to cheer about. We are absolutely motivated to respond after our Austin disappointment and Fuji is the perfect place to do that.”
Davidson, who shares the lead in the drivers’ standings alongside Buemi and Lapierre, says he is looking forward to the event after disappointment in last year’s race. “I always love going to Japan. I enjoy the country, the culture and of course, the people. I’m really looking forward to Fuji, especially as we are going there with a very competitive car,” Davidson commented.
“We had difficult weather last year and I felt so sorry for the fans, they are so enthusiastic and you really feel their support. They deserve to have a proper race this year. We should have won the race in Austin, so the memory of that disappointment will motivate us in Fuji where we want to win again on Toyota’s home turf.”