Toyota-backed driver to enter F1 as McLaren reserve

Toyota is making a System 1 comeback, of kinds.

Throughout the latest Japanese Grand Prix, McLaren introduced it signed Ryo Hirakawa as a reserve driver.

Hirakawa is a Toyota-backed driver who at present drives within the World Endurance Championship, competing within the premier Hypercar class behind the wheel of Toyota’s GR010 Hybrid LMH. Within the 2022 season, he managed an general win within the 24 Hours of Le Mans and claimed the championship title.

Hirakawa will function a reserve driver at McLaren beginning in 2024, alongside his current dedication to Toyota within the World Endurance Championship. The reserve position means he’ll fill in for one in every of McLaren’s F1 drivers if they’re unable to race. As such, reserve drivers often take a look at a crew’s F1 vehicles to make sure familiarity and be prepared for a possible race. Reserve drivers additionally assist throughout simulator improvement.

Toyota competed in F1 from 2002 to 2009, although the corporate did not discover a lot success regardless of having one of many largest budgets. The worldwide monetary disaster put an finish to Toyota’s F1 endeavor, and the automaker is unlikely to return. Present Chairman Akio Toyoda has constantly held that F1 is just too far faraway from the event of Toyota’s manufacturing fashions.

“So long as I’m president, I don’t suppose it’ll occur,” he has repeatedly advised reporters each time requested about an F1 return.

Nonetheless, Toyoda would not need Toyota drivers to overlook out on F1, which is why he personally backed Hirakawa’s bid to grow to be a reserve driver at McLaren.

“As president of the corporate, I used to be the one who give up F1,” Toyoda stated throughout the Japanese Grand Prix. “Since then, I’ve been concerned in racing in numerous methods, and though not one of the drivers say as a lot to me, I at all times sensed their want to be referred to as the perfect on the planet, to drive the quickest vehicles on the planet, and to develop themselves by means of that have.”


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