De Vries poised for 2024 Toyota WEC seat after AlphaTauri F1 exit

The 28-year-old, who was reserve driver for Toyota in 2022, is poised to take the race seat originally earmarked for him this season, according to Autosport sources.

De Vries had signed to race the #7 Toyota GR010 HYBRID Le Mans Hypercar in 2023, but had a get-out clause that enabled him to take up an F1 seat. 

The likelihood is that he will take the place of Jose Maria Lopez alongside Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway in the #7 crew for 2024.

Lopez was set to be replaced by de Vries for 2023 before the Dutch driver signed for AlphaTauri.

The Argentinian is understood to have agreed only a one-year extension to his Toyota contract, which dates back to 2017.  

Toyota has remained tight-lipped on the possibility of a race deal for de Vries, who was replaced at AlphaTauri by Daniel Ricciardo ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix in July.

Team director Rob Leupen downplayed the prospect when speaking to Autosport earlier this month at Fuji.

“I’m always in contact with Nyck because we are both Dutch!” Leupen joked. “I think Nyck has a lot of opportunities, he has also done some good testing for us [in the past]. 

“We are also in a good situation with our [current] driver line-up. I think our current driver line-up is superb. From that point of view, I would say there is no issue.”

#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez

#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 — Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

For his part, Lopez, who turned 40 earlier this year, was coy about his chances of staying on at Toyota for a sixth successive season.

«Not yet,” replied Lopez when asked by Autosport at Fuji if he was sure of his Toyota future. “I would like to stay with the team, but I’m not 20 any more. We’ll have to see. It’s not decided.»

In recent years, Toyota has announced its WEC driver line-ups in late November or December along with the rest of its motorsport activities for the coming season.

De Vries was poised to tackle dual campaigns in WEC and Formula E in 2023 prior to his AlphaTauri call-up, and looked set to contest the latter series with Maserati MSG.

It remains to be seen whether the Dutchman, the 2020/21 FE champion, will seek to combine the two series again next year, although he would face a potential clash between the Spa WEC round and Berlin E-Prix should he do so.

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