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Kamui Kobayashi to race for Toyota WEC team in 2016

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Ex-Formula 1 driver Kamui Kobayashi will race for Toyota’s LMP1 team in the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship.

Kobayashi, 29, made his F1 debut with Toyota back in 2009 as a replacement for the injured Timo Glock, taking part in what would be the Japanese manufacturer’s last two races before quitting the series.

Kobayashi spent three years with Sauber before moving into the WEC with Ferrari’s factory GT team, AF Corse.

However, he chose to walk away from this in 2014 for another shot at F1 with Caterham, only to spend the year languishing at the back of the grid and being something of a ‘second choice’ at the end of the year when the team was beset by financial problems.

Kobayashi will now return to the WEC for 2016, replacing Alexander Wurz in the six-man line-up at Toyota following the Austrian’s retirement having previously tested for the team last year.

“I’m really excited to be an LMP1 race driver and I would like to thank Toyota for this opportunity,” Kobayashi said. “I tested the TS040 Hybrid a few times and it was a seriously impressive car; the power of the hybrid system in particular was amazing.

“Now I can’t wait to see what the new car feels like; I am sure it will be a big step forward and put us back in the fight at the front. Racing in LMP1 will be a new experience for me and I am looking forward to it a lot.

“There will be plenty to learn but I know my team-mates will support me and I am sure I can be competitive right from the start. Now my focus is on preparing properly for the new season and being absolutely ready for Silverstone.”

Kobayashi will race alongside Stephane Sarrazin and Mike Conway in 2016, while the second Toyota will once again be shared by Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima.

Toyota confirmed that it will be announcing a new test/reserve driver in place of Kobayashi next month.

Formula 1: Recapping the past week’s news

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This past week in Formula 1 was dominated by teams launching their 2018 challengers for the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season.

A total of six teams took the covers off their new chassis for the world to see this week, joining Haas F1 Team and Williams Martini Racing in doing so.

The list below contains the teams that launched their 2018 chassis this week and the name of their 2018 chassis:

  • Red Bull Racing – RB14
  • Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team – C37
  • Renault Sport F1 Team – R.S.18
  • Scuderia Ferrari – SJ71H
  • Mercedes AMG Petronas – W09
  • McLaren F1 Team – MCL33

Testing for everyone begins on Monday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, home of the Spanish Grand Prix, beginning a stretch of two weeks of pre-season testing prior to the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Sahara Force India and Scuderia Toro Rosso are expected to unveil their 2018 cars the morning of the first day of testing.

Force India Up for Sale?

Rumors about the future of Sahara Force India, already rumored to be changing names soon, took yet another interesting this week as news surfaced about a possible sale of the team to British energy drink firm Rich Energy.

This news also comes as current majority team owner Dr. Vijay Mallya faces developing legal troubles involving money laundering, further adding to the murky environment surrounding a team that has become the “best of the rest” behind Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull in recent years.