Ogier open to lower-level endurance seat for Le Mans preparation

Sebastien Ogier has suggested he would be open to a race programme in the lower ranks of endurance racing next year as he aims to fulfil his ambition of contesting the Le Mans 24 Hours.

As previously reported by Motorsport.com, Ogier is set to test Toyota’s Le Mans Hypercar in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s end-of-season rookie test in Bahrain as he prepares to bring down the curtain on his full-time rallying career.

The Frenchman has already ruled out contesting a full WRC campaign in 2022, although he is expected to contest a limited number of events at the wheel of a hybrid-powered Toyota GR Yaris alongside any WEC commitments.

A full-time Toyota WEC seat for Ogier in 2022 appears unlikely at this stage, as does the prospect of a Japanese marque running a third GR010 Hybrid at Le Mans.

However, when asked for the latest on his future plans ahead of this weekend’s Rally Finland, Ogier said racing in a lower category may also be an option.

This wouldn’t be without precedent as Toyota supported SUPER GT champion Kenta Yamashita to contest the full 2019/20 WEC season for LMP2 team High Class Racing.

“I think I will be open to make any step to progress if it’s needed,” said Ogier, who has limited circuit racing experience in the DTM and Porsche Supercup. “I would totally understand that it would take time.

“I don’t expect to jump in this WEC car and be the best, you have to be realistic.

“For sure it’s quite different to what I have done so far, but I think this first test [in Bahrain] will give us an idea about it and we will discuss with the team what’s the best plan for me and best plan for all of us, for the team.”

Sebastien Ogier, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA

Sebastien Ogier, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA

Photo by: James Gasperotti / Motorsport Images

Ahead of the WEC rookie test on November 7, which follows a day on from the season-ending Bahrain 8 Hours, Ogier is set to undertake two days in the Toyota simulator in Cologne.

Ogier underlined that he won’t make any decision on the make-up of his 2022 WRC programme until he knows what his options are to race in the WEC next season.

“I want to see with my first test with the WEC car [in Bahrain] and see the amount of work I still have to do to have maybe a chance or a programme in this category, and at least see what 2022 is like in terms of a WEC programme for me, and then after that maybe make a clearer plan about WRC,” said the seven-time champion.

“But the truth is we right now anyway don’t have much of a calendar for WRC next year, so that’s also something I will need to make some plan [for].”

shares
comments
Hirakawa unsure of Toyota WEC seat after "tough" second test

Previous article

Hirakawa unsure of Toyota WEC seat after "tough" second test

Next article

Lynn to join Ganassi Cadillac IMSA line-up with view to '23 WEC deal

Lynn to join Ganassi Cadillac IMSA line-up with view to '23 WEC deal
Load comments
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Prime

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far Prime

What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the FIA World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide Prime

Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide

After a two-month delay due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours is set to get underway with the start of the Hypercar era at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Prime

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Prime

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success.

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car Prime

How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car

The JW Automotive Engineering team won twice at the Le Mans 24 Hours with ageing Fords and was considered the heavy favourite to add more victories to its tally after partnering with Porsche. But despite being armed with the all-conquering 917, this formidable combination was never as successful in real life as on the big screen.

Le Mans
Aug 15, 2021
Why Jose Maria Lopez isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio Prime

Why Jose Maria Lopez isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio

Having twice missed out on Formula 1 and reinvented himself as a touring car driver, Jose Maria Lopez has had a rocky ride to becoming a four-time world champion. One more would put him level with his nation's favourite son, but there's another prize he would value far more than the honour of matching Juan Manuel Fangio's tally.

WEC
Aug 14, 2021
The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial Prime

The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial

OPINION: After 24 Le Mans 24 Hours participations, 50-year-old Emmanuel Collard will be absent from the grid this year, stuck at the mercy of his gold driver grading. But, while he's not motivated by breaking start records, the French veteran is determined to return to the field next year.

WEC
Jul 24, 2021