De Vries will share the #7 Toyota GR010 HYBRID with Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway for what will be his first full campaign in the WEC since he drove for the Racing Team Nederland LMP2 team in the 2019/20 season.
It marks the first driver change at Toyota since Ryo Hirakawa joined the #8 LMH car in 2022 following Kazuki Nakajima’s decision to retire from racing and move into a managerial role.
Hirakawa, Brendon Hartley and Sebastien Buemi will continue to pilot the #8 Toyota in 2024 after winning their second consecutive title as a trio in Bahrain earlier this month.
De Vries is understood to have signed a contract to race for Toyota in 2023, only for a late call-up by AlphaTauri to trigger an exit clause and allow him to fulfil his dream of competing in grand prix racing.
However, de Vries’ early results in F1 fell below expectations and he was dropped by the Red Bull-owned squad after just 10 rounds, leading to the Dutchman to reenter negotiations with Toyota for a WEC drive in 2024.
Motorsport.com reported in September that de Vries was in line to replace Lopez, with the 28-year-old being officially announced by the Japanese manufacturer on Monday.
Alongside his newly-announced WEC commitments, de Vries will also return to Formula E next season with Mahindra Racing. He previously raced for the new-defunct Mercedes team in the all-electric championship between 2019/20 and 2021/22 seasons, winning the title in his second attempt.
“I am super excited to be returning to endurance racing, especially with Toyota Gazoo Racing,” said de Vries.
“Endurance racing is something that I have always enjoyed and it is a discipline with incredible momentum at the moment.
“I was with the team in a different role for a few years but never got the chance to race, so it is great that the time has now arrived, and I want to thank the team for their continuous support and faith in me.
“I am very much looking forward to sharing car #7 with both Mike and Kamui. They are both very talented drivers who achieved a lot, and I am sure we will make a great team.”
Photo by: Toyota Racing
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 – Hybrid: Jose Maria Lopez
De Vries’ Toyota move comes at the expense of Lopez, who will leave the Hypercar squad after a six-season stint that yielded two overall titles and one victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours.
However, the Argentine will maintain ties with Toyota next year after agreeing to represent the Japanese marque’s Lexus brand in the LMGT3 category.
Lopez will drive one of the two Lexus RC F GT3s entered by ASP in the new-for-2024 class, with the remaining line-up to be revealed at a later date.
“I want to create a system that allows experienced drivers to give feedback to younger drivers, just as José will be driving in WEC GT3,” said Toyota WEC Vice Chairman Kazuki Nakajima, while announcing that the WEC Challenge Program that Ritomo Miyata has been part of will be rebranded to TGR Global Driver Challenge Program.
“I would also like to make this program a collaboration among various bases to create an environment where not only Japanese drivers but also many other drivers can challenge themselves.”
Lexus will be one of the multitude of manufacturers competing in in the LMGT3 class, which is also expected to receive entries from Porsche, Corvette, Aston Martin, Ferrari, BMW, Lamborghini and Ford.