After several speculations, Toyota confirms De Vries in car #8 in place of Pechito Lopes, who goes to GT3. Miyata is kept as a reserve
What was already speculated was confirmed by Toyota this Monday (20): Nyck De Vries will take part in the Japanese effort in the FIA WEC Hypercars for 2024. The Dutchman was announced as the newest member of the team’s 7th car trio, which will maintain Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway. Car 8 continues with this season’s champion trio: Ryo Hirakawa, Sebastian Buemi and Brandon Hartley.
De Vries is no stranger to Toyota’s nest: he took on the role of test and reserve driver between 2020 and 2022, in addition to having already completed some long-term races. He replaces Argentine José María “Pechito” Lopez, who will lead the effort of Lexus (the automaker’s sports brand) with Akkodis ASP in the FIA WEC 2024.
Toyota has been making an effort to gradually renew its team in the FIA WEC and the selection of De Vries is another step in this direction. “Knocked out” of AlphaTauri in the middle of the season, De Vries has one more chance to adjust the course of his career. In addition to this role, the driver will also be a starter for Mahindra in Season 10 of Formula E.
During the presentation, Kamui Kobayashi, who is also the team leader in the FIA WEC, made a point of praising Pechito Lopes’ role in Toyota’s effort: “In motor sport, things constantly evolve and the same happens with the formations of pilots. In car 7, Mike, José and I have been driving since 2017, which is a really long time in any category. We had great times together, but also difficult times, especially at Le Mans. I would like to thank José for his great contribution as a pilot and companion. He will always be part of the team.”
“At the same time, it is exciting to welcome Nyck back to the team as part of Team 7. We have known him since he was a test and reserve driver and we know how fast and consistent he is. Next year we will have a trio of high-level drivers and this will be important when we have to face more competitors in the Hypercar class.”
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In addition to the confirmation of De Vries and Lopez, Toyota announced that Ritomo Miyata will remain in its driver training program. Japanese Super Formula and GT 500 champion this year, Miyata debuted in the FIA WEC in Fuji racing in the #57 Kessel Racing Ferrari in place of Daniel Serra.
For 2024, Miyata will be a reserve driver for the Hypercar team and will do a double program in the European Endurance Championship (ELMS) and F2 (team yet to be confirmed). The 23-year-old has shown a lot of ability and is considered the right name at Toyota for the 2025 season. But his F2 campaign draws attention, taking the opposite path of several drivers, who chose to go to Japan after not having take part in the category or go to F1.
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