Alexander Wurz Kazuki Nakajima

Toyota has confirmed it has secured the services of two former F1 drivers as it makes its return to the international endurance racing stage with a hybrid LMP1 car in the newly-named World Endurance Championship.

The new car will compete at selected rounds of the WEC – better known as the Le Mans Series – which will include the fabled Le Mans 24 Hours. It will make the carmaker’s first appearance on this stage since the late 1990s.

Its major driver signing is none other than two-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Alexander Wurz, the former Formula 1 driver who raced for Benetton, McLaren and Williams, who will join the outfit after several years in the factory Peugeot Le Mans team.

Also joining him is Toyota protege and former Williams F1 racing driver Kazuki Nakajima. The team’s third main driver is Frenchman Nicolas Lapierre, a driver with the ORECA LMS squad, which will provide technical support to this new venture.

“I love endurance racing and I have been a fan of Le Mans since my childhood so I have great memories of Toyotas competing there, particularly the GT-One which was a really sexy, cool-looking car,” Wurz said of his appointment.

“As an ambitious Le Mans racer, this heritage combined with the immense technical capabilities at TMG makes a very attractive combination.”

All three drivers will work in Toyota’s simulator before the car’s track debut in early 2012.

[Images via LAT and XPB]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.