NEW AND FAMILIAR FACES AT TOYOTA RACING IN 2015

2015_TS040_Studio Shoot3Inside the cockpit, the #1 TS040 HYBRID will feature World Champions Anthony and Sébastien alongside Kazuki Nakajima, who is planned to compete in a full WEC season for the first time.

In the #2 car, Alex Wurz and Stéphane Sarrazin are joined by Mike Conway, who raced three times in 2014 in his role as test and reserve driver, winning the Six Hours of Bahrain.

Kamui Kobayashi, who previously drove for TOYOTA in Formula 1 and finished sixth in its final Grand Prix, becomes test and reserve driver. Kamui will combine his role with a Super Formula campaign in Japan, while Nicolas steps back following three seasons in the race crew. He will be available for testing and development duties throughout the season.

The Cologne-based team is also preparing for another change, with TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH (TMG) President Yoshiaki Kinoshita returning to Japan in April as is normal practice for TOYOTA executives.

After securing the long-term future of the WEC project, winning the World Championship and sealing a World Rally Championship return, his mission at TMG is complete and he will depart after the Six Hours of Silverstone.

Everyone at TMG thanks Kinoshita san sincerely for his immense contribution to the company and its motorsport history.

Toshio Sato will take over as TMG and Team President from 1 April. He returns to TMG after several years as a senior engine engineer during the F1 project and brings vast experience of hybrid technology, having previously been responsible for TOYOTA and LEXUS hybrid system development.

As well as changes in personnel and technology, TOYOTA Racing has also adapted to revised regulations for 2015.

Teams are now limited to a maximum of five engines per car for the entire season, although none of the team’s cars exceeded this limit in any of the previous three seasons. Additional limits apply to tyre usage, with four sets of slicks allowed during practice and six for qualifying and the race, except in Bahrain and Shanghai where eight sets are permitted, with 11 sets permitted during the Le Mans race.

Flexibility limits have been introduced for bodywork items such as the splitter, the rear wing, diffuser and plank, while the car is now subject to added ballast when, as is the case with the #1 and #2 crews, the average driver weight is less than 80kg. 

Those new regulations will apply when the season kicks off at Silverstone on 12 April, followed by Spa-Francorchamps on 2 May. The Le Mans 24 Hours is the annual highlight on 14 June while Nürburgring (30 August) is a new addition. The eight-race campaign concludes with races in Austin (19 September), Fuji Speedway (11 October), Shanghai (1 November) and Bahrain (21 November).

Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Team President: “Personally, I am sad to be leaving TMG and our motorsport projects, but I will watch the races very closely and support the team whenever I can. I would like to thank the whole WEC community for the support and encouragement they have given since we joined in 2012; we are proud to be part of the endurance family. It is great to see the #1 on our car this year; our target is to retain it and win the Le Mans 24 Hours. This year the challenge will be greater than ever with four LMP1 manufacturers all presenting different technical solutions. We have worked very hard to improve our TS040 HYBRID and so far the testing results are encouraging. But there is a long way to go and we are eager to see the performance of our rivals at the Prologue, but more importantly at Silverstone for the first race.”