At the recent Japanese Grand Prix, McLaren made waves in the motorsport world by announcing a significant development role for Ryo Hirakawa, a successful Toyota factory driver known for his 24 Hours of Le Mans triumph in 2022. This move has deepened the collaboration between McLaren and Toyota, fuelling speculation about Toyota’s potential reentry into Formula 1.
McLaren and Toyota have a longstanding relationship, primarily revolving around wind tunnel access in Cologne. While McLaren now operates its wind tunnel in Woking, they are strengthening their ties through Hirakawa’s career development.
At 29 years old, Hirakawa is not in the typical age bracket for Formula 1 prospects. However, he will have the opportunity to use McLaren’s simulator next year and even test their 2021 car—an unusual chance usually reserved for prospective F1 race drivers.(more…)