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Ex-F1 driver Kobayashi joins Toyota's WEC team

2016-02-05 09:46

DRIVING FOR TOYOTA: Former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi has been confirmed as Toyota World Endurance Championship driver for 2016. Image: AFP / Toshifumi Kitamura

Paris, France  - Former Formula 1 driver Kamui Kobayashi will replace the retired Alex Wurz for the Toyota Gazoo Racing team in the World Endurance Championship competition that includes the fabled Le Mans race, the Japanese car manufacturer announced Thursday.

Kobayashi, who steps up from test and reserve driver, will race alongside Stephane Sarrazin and Mike Conway in the completely new TS050 hybrid car.

New to LMP1

The team's other car will be driven by 2014 world champions Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima for a second consecutive season.

"Racing in LMP1 will be a new experience for me and I am looking forward to it a lot," said Kobayashi.

"There will be plenty to learn but I know my team-mates will support me and I am sure I can be competitive right from the start. Now my focus is on preparing properly for the new season and being absolutely ready for Silverstone."

'Easy decision'

Team president Toshio Sato added: "Kamui showed his speed and commitment in testing, so it was a relatively easy decision to select him to replace Alex.

"We know he is capable of doing a good job alongside Stephane and Mike."

Kobayashi, 29, made his F1 debut in 2009 and went on to start 75 Grands Prix for Toyota, Sauber and Caterham. His sole podium came in the Japanese GP in 2012 for Sauber, Kobayashi leaving F1 with 125 career points.

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