Stephane Sarrazin has left Toyota after six years in order to join SMP Racing's new LMP1 line-up for the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship season.

Sarrazin will form part of the new two-car team entered by the Russian state-backed SMP Racing for the expanded LMP1 class ahead of the new 'super season', joining already confirmed drivers Mikhail Aleshin and Vitaly Petrov.

SMP Racing confirmed that Sarrazin will race in the #11 BR Engineering BR1 AER car alongside Aleshin and one further driver, who is still to be confirmed.

"It's great that I joined the SMP Racing team this season. This is a new challenge and an excellent experience for me after six seasons of working with Toyota," Sarrazin said.

"I have known SMP Racing for a long time. This is a strong and experienced team, and I am convinced that we will achieve all the goals set for the new BR1 car in the LMP1 class." 

Sarrazin joined Toyota at the start of its LMP1 programme in 2012, and took his maiden victory in Bahrain the following year alongside Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi.

Further victories followed in Bahrain one year later and in Fuji in 2016, but Sarrazin was dropped back to the third car entry for the 2017 season, making way for Jose Maria Lopez, and made only three appearances.

"Stephane is one of our original Le Mans drivers from 2012 so we have experienced many emotions together. He brought experience and determination to our project, contributing significantly to the development of our team and technology," said Hisatake Murata, Toyota Gazoo Racing team president.

"For this, we sincerely thank him and wish him well for the future. We are looking forward to competing with Stephane again in WEC this season, which we expect to be an exciting one for endurance fans."

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