Jose Maria Lopez will miss the 6 Hours of Spa.
The Argentinian had a heavy impact with a barrier at the first round at Silverstone, and the first reports from there, was that he was all fine. But now it turns out that he has actually broken two vertebrae, which has been kept secret by the team until now.
But today it couldn’t be kept secret anymore, since neither the FIA WEC doctor nor the team’s own doctor would allow him to drive.
When the accident happened, the warning light on the car went on. That is a security just like on Formula 1 cars, that will light up if the car has hit a certain amount of G-force. Lopez insisted that he wanted to drive the car back to the pits, which he eventually did, before he went to hospital for a check. Following that accident, it has been made clear by the FIA WEC doctors, that in the future it won’t be up to the driver to decide. Instead it will be decided by the doctor who has to be there, when the warning light is on. So had it been today, he probably wouldn’t had been allowed to drive back, since the onboard pictures clearly showed him in pain after the accident.
That means Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi will be the only drivers for the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship on the Belgian track. That isn’t a problem at all, since many other teams have been doing that several times. But with Lopez on sick-leave, it is very unlikely for him to win the World Championship in FIA WEC this year. The only way that can happen, is for his two teammates to end this weekend pointless – and therefore fall even further behind the competition in the standings. So that’s very unlikely to happen.
It is still not clear if he will be ready for Le Mans, but the news from the team is that he focuses 100% on the recovery and getting ready for the big race. So only time will tell.
Toyota Gazoo Racing already has some extra stuff going on this weekend, since they enter a third car as warm up for the Le Mans race. Car number 8 will be driven by Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, and Kazuki Nakajima like always, while number 9 will be driven by Stephane Sarrazin, Nicolas Lapierre, and Yuji Kunimoto.