British Formula One team McLaren Racing have announced the winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans’ 2022 edition, Ryō Hirakawa, as their Reserve Driver. Hirakawa will be joining the McLaren Driver Development programme.
The Japanese driver was a part of the Toyota Young Driver Program (TDP) in 2013 and then made his Super GT debut in 2014 with TOM’S of Lexus. Currently, he is participating in the 2023 Hypercar World Endurance Drivers’ Championship.
Ryō Hirakawa commented:
“I’m happy to have joined the McLaren F1 Team as a Reserve Driver. It’s an exciting prospect to work with such a respected team and I’m grateful to Zak and Andrea for the opportunity. I’ve already met the team and experienced the simulator at MTC which has allowed me to hit the ground running. I’m now fully prepared and focused for the remainder of 2023. I would also like to take this opportunity to express two points of appreciation. The first one goes to TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. I am grateful to them for allowing me to serve as a driver for the two teams. The second thank you goes to MORIZO-san (Akio Toyoda), who has supported me as a driver. As a driver himself, his advice was that I should drive any car that gives me the chance to develop. I therefore want to make the most of this opportunity and return the favour by showing him how I have grown.“
Andrea Stella, Team Principal, McLaren F1 Team, added:
“I’m pleased to welcome Ryo to McLaren Racing as a Formula 1 Reserve Driver to further strengthen our growing support driver pool. We are thankful to TOYOTA GAZOO Racing for their collaboration by allowing Ryo to take on the new role alongside his driving duties. He has an impressive record on track winning Le Mans as well as the FIA World Endurance Championship. We look forward to working closely with Ryo who has already spent time on the simulator at MTC. His wealth of experience will benefit the team in a number of areas as he joins our strong stable of drivers.“