SPA, Belgium – Jose Maria Lopez will miss this weekend’s FIA World Endurance Championship round at Spa-Francorchamps after failing a pre-race medical check.
Lopez crashed heavily in damp conditions during the season-opener at Silverstone two weeks ago, resulting in a visit to the local hospital in Northampton, England before being released the same day.
The Argentine was required to undergo a medical check ahead of this weekend’s 6 Hours of Spa before being given permission to race, leading to a decision to withdraw from the round.
“Toyota Gazoo Racing regrets to announce that José María López will not compete in the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the second round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC),” a statement from the team reads.
“José María suffered minor damage to two vertebrae during an accident at Silverstone on 16 April. Both team and driver hoped that a period of rest would complete the natural healing process before this week’s event.
“However, after consultation with FIA Medical Delegate Dr. Jacques Tropenat and the team’s own doctor, it has been decided José María should not compete at Spa in order to ensure he returns fully fit at Le Mans.
“José María will return to the TS050 Hybrid cockpit for a test session towards the end of the month prior to participating in the official Le Mans test on 4 June.”
“I’m extremely disappointed to miss this weekend’s race as I was really looking forward to driving the TS050 Hybrid at Spa,” Lopez said.
“I feel basically fine but we all agree that we should take no chances. The priority is to be absolutely fit for Le Mans.
“Probably I could race if we were at a different track but a driver’s body experiences extreme forces through Eau Rouge so, after discussions with the FIA Medical Delegate and our team doctor, we decided I should not drive this weekend.”
With Lopez missing the race, the No. 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid will be shared by Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi at Spa this weekend.