Thomas Laurent is the first of the four* drivers selected to take part in the third official Rookie Tests of the FIA World Endurance Championship on the international Bahrain circuit on 19th November. The young 19-year-old French driver, who is an ASA ACO licence holder, will test the Toyota TS050 Hybrid over a minimum of 30 laps. Laurent has been selected because of his commitment and performances throughout 2017.
These tests represent the ultimate aim of the endurance driver career pathway created by the ACO whose purpose is to allow teams and drivers to hone their skills to cope with the specificities of this branch of motor sport and to access the upper levels. Thus from karts, the door which really opens the way to the top levels of motor sport up to the blue-riband endurance category represented by LM P1, teaching driving skills and training future champions are one of the priorities of the ACO. Laurent is the perfect illustration of this pathway.
He made his debut in karts in 2005 and 10 years later he won the K2 World Championship title on the International Le Mans Karting Circuit after which things moved pretty quickly.
The same year he was given a drive in LM P3, the prototype category that is the first step on the endurance pyramid created by the ACO, and he filled the runner-up spot in the Asian Le Mans Series with the DC Racing team. He was also named Rookie of the Year in the series.
In 2016 he again drove in LM P3, but this time in the European Le Mans Series in which he was again named Rookie of the Year. He won the Road to Le Mans, the curtain-raiser to the Le Mans 24 Hours in which the LM P3s in the ACO Series and the GT3s in the Michelin Le Mans Cup take part.
In two years Laurent climbed all the rungs on the ladder and in 2017 he raced in the FIA World Endurance Championship in the LM P2 category with the Jackie Chan DC Racing team. He made his debut in the Silverstone 6 Hours in April and so far he has scored three victories in the FIA WEC including the LM P2 category in the Le Mans 24 Hours in which he also finished second overall behind the winning Porsche. Laurent and his team-mates Oliver Jarvis and Ho-Pin Tung are the current leaders of the FIA Endurance Trophy for LM P2 Drivers.
Thanks to his performances the young Frenchman has now reached the ultimate level of the endurance pyramid, the LM P1 category, by testing
the Toyota TS050 Hybrid on 19th November, the day after the final round of the 2017 FIA WEC. Thus, the Japanese manufacturer can assess his skills behind the wheel of an LM P1 during this test day.
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: “I’m very happy for Thomas and this opportunity he’s been given to test for Toyota. Thanks to his performances and his talent Thomas’s career path is the perfect illustration of the ACO’s determination to bring on young racers due to the endurance apprenticeship system set up to help talented drivers access the top level. We’ll follow his results very closely as well as those of the other three drivers who will take part in these tests with him.”
Thomas Laurent, Jackie Chan Racing driver in LM P2: “When the WEC gave me the letter telling me that I’d been selected for the Rookie Tests little did I imagine that the name Toyota would be inside! It’s a dream for me to drive an LM P1, and what’s more a works Toyota. I’m very proud and I would like to thank the ACO and Pierre Fillon, the WEC and Gérard Neveu, as well as Toyota and Pascal Vasselon for enabling me to fulfil this dream. I’d also like to thank all the members of the Jackie Chan DC Racing team - and Rémy Brouard. They’ve helped me to achieve this result thanks to their involvement, their advice, their experience and above all their support throughout this year. "
*The other three drivers taking part in the Rookie Tests will be the first three in the overall classification of the World Series Formula V8 3.5 whose results won’t be known until the final race of the season in Bahrain on 18th November. They will test in their finishing order on the podium the Porsche 919 Hybrid, the LM P2 of the winner of the FIA Endurance Trophy for LM P2 Teams, and the LM GTE Pro of the team victorious in the FIA Endurance Trophy for LM GTE Pro Teams.