You may not recognize the name off-hand, but Jose Maria Lopez is one of the most dominant drivers racing today. He has, after all, won the World Touring Car Championship three years running. But now he’s switching to Le Mans prototypes, where he’s expected to drive for Toyota.
Once a Renault F1 prodigy, Lopez has a wealth of experience in a variety of racing disciplines. Aside from the WTCC which he’s dominated with Citroën for the past three years, he’s competed in an array of GT cars, won a GP2 race, and is currently competing in Formula E. But WTCC has been his main gig since 2014, and with Citroën now shutting down its program to focus on the World Rally Championship, Lopez is looking elsewhere.
According to Autosport, he’s already signed a contract with Toyota to drive its front-running LMP1, having kicked off a series of tests with the team last winter. Though the Japanese outfit has yet to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it took both titles in the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship – putting it up there with the likes of Porsche and Audi.
With the latter now leaving the series, there’s bound to be a number of experienced drivers on the market. But it appears that, while it may not be announced until after the start of the new year, Lopez and Toyota may have already signed before Audi’s announcement was made.