Nakajima set to depart Toyota at the end of the season

Kazuki Nakajima of the #8 Toyota GAZOO Racing is set to depart from the team after nine seasons in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

The 36-year-old will stand down his race seat after this weekend’s 8 Hours of Bahrain finale to Season 9.

As one of the early drivers of the endurance team, Nakajima has accumulated 16 victories in his 58 races since the inaugural 2012 WEC season.

Amongst his success, he has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times – twice with Sebastien Buemi and Fernando Alonso as well as the LMP1 WEC championship title during the Super-Season.

Nakajima said: “It has been an honour to compete for Toyota GAZOO Racing for nine seasons and I feel so lucky to have won races, championships and Le Mans 24 Hours alongside so many talented, passionate and dedicated colleagues.

“I want to express my greatest thanks to Toyota GAZOO Racing for this 10-year journey in WEC.

“I have so many memories with this team, who have been a family to me in tough times as well as in happy times, and I will always feel like a Toyota GAZOO Racing team member.

“A new era is coming for endurance racing, with many Hypercar manufacturers joining in the next years, and it will be a new era for me.

“I will continue to support the team and I look forward to watching the start of a new, exciting time for endurance racing.”

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He has driven all of Toyota’s LMP1-Hybrid machinery¬†during his time from the TS030 to the TS050, in addition to the maiden season of their GR010 Hybrid Le Mans Hypercar.

His challenges included when he was denied the Le Mans win on two occasions.

In 2014, a FIA-mandated piece of monitoring equipment failed within the #7 car and melted a wiring loom forcing him to abandon his lead after claiming the team’s maiden Le Mans pole position.

Another included the near-victory in 2016 when the team retired on the final lap of the race.

The Japanese driver will close his WEC career this Saturday 6 November with the potential to claim his second driver’s championship title at just 15 points away from the #7 crew.

Toyota will share the details of their revised 2022 driver line-up in the coming weeks.