The long adventure and the beautiful story, crowned with success between the Japanese driver Kazuki Nakajima and the Toyota endurance team will end this Saturday evening, November 6, after the arrival of the Eight Hours of Sakhir, in the Island of Bahrain. , final round of the 2021 WEC World Endurance Championship
With 16 victories obtained together in WEC, the Toyota Gazoo Racing team announced this Wednesday, November 3, the end of the partnership with Kazuki Nakajima.
The Japanese driver, who has been riding with the Japanese team since the creation of the WEC World Endurance Championship, will therefore leave the Team after the 8 Hours of Bahrain.
At 36 – he was born on January 11, 1985- Kazuki is in the Land of the Rising Sun one of the most successful Japanese pilots with Takuma Sato (Double winner of the 500 miles at Indianapolis) and Kamui Kobayashi, another member of Team Toyota in WEC!
Kazuki having won the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times in 2018, 2019 and 2020, the famous race in Japan and that the Japanese call ‘the long, long day’ without forgetting the title of World Endurance Champion WEC, won at the end of the Super season in 2018-2019, in the company of his teammates, the Swiss Sébastien Buemi and the Spaniard Fernando Alonso.
Kazuki Nakajima who confides after this announcement:
“It has been an honor to compete for Toyota Gazoo Racing for nine seasons and I feel so lucky to have won races, championships and the 24 Hours of Le Mans alongside so many talented, passionate and dedicated colleagues. «
And he goes on and on:
“I would like to express my greatest thanks to Toyota Gazoo Racing for this ten-year journey in WEC. I have so many memories with this team, which has been a family to me in difficult times as well as in happy times, and I will always feel like a member of the Toyota Gazoo Racing team. «
“A new era is coming for endurance racing, with many hypercar builders in the years to come, and it will be a new era for me. I will continue to support the team and look forward to seeing the start of an exciting new period for endurance racing. «
It will be recalled that Kazuki Nakajima was at the wheel of the Toyota TS050 which seemed to be heading towards the very first victory in Sarthe of the Japanese manufacturer when at the start of the last lap, his car had suddenly and suddenly come to a stop in front of the straight line of stands on Sunday, June 19, 2016, following an engine problem, abandoning this deserved success which extended its arms to the German Porsche team and to one of its crews, which formed the French Romain Dumas, the Swiss Neel Jani and the German Marc Lieb.
Following this terrible disappointment, the Toyota staff had done him the honor of finishing the race, during the 1st victory which finally occurred two years later on Sunday, June 17, 2018, Kazuki finally crossing the checkered flag this time. winner …
Operation which was to be repeated twice, in June 2019 and June 2020.
THE ALONSO-NAKAJIMA-BUEMI TRIO HAS A NEW WINNER Photo: Thierry COULIBALY
Photos: Thierry COULIBALY – Manfred GIET – Patrick MARTINOLI