Toyota GAZOO Racing announced the signing of Thomas Laurent in reserve and test role from the 2019/20 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season.
Laurent currently races in the LMP1 category with privateer Rebellion Racing Gibson outfit, as he sits third in the drivers’ standings with a win in 6 Hours of Silverstone to his name. From 2019/20 onward though, the 21-year-old will join Toyota’s line-up.
He becomes the official reserve and test driver alongside regulars Sebastien Buemi, Kamui Kobayashi, Brendon Hartley, Kazuki Nakajima, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez – with Hartley coming in, in place of the out-going Fernando Alonso.
“It is an honour to become an official TOYOTA GAZOO Racing driver, joining a manufacturer team for the first time in my career. Thank you to everyone who has made this possible,” said Laurent. “My focus at the moment is to enjoy a successful end to the WEC season.
“That is with my current team [Rebellion Racing] at Le Mans [next month], but naturally I am looking forward to driving the TS050 HYBRID again and being part of a World Championship-winning team.”
Toyota team president Hisatake Murata added: “I am pleased to welcome Thomas to TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. He is a very talented and consistent driver, which is particularly impressive considering he is still a young man.
“Based on his performances so far, I am sure he will continue his rapid development and become a real star of endurance racing for many years to come. Everyone in the team is excited to see his progress.”
It will not be the first time for Laurent to drive the TS050 HYBRID as the Frenchman got the opportunity to run with Toyota in the Bahrain rookie test, which he earned after finishing second in the LMP2 title with Jackie Chan DC Racing.