Seven-time world rally champion Sébastien Ogier drove a Toyota prototype for the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time in Bahrain on Sunday. The stopwatch didn’t matter yet. Driving sensations, yes! « How was this first day in the prototype Toyota hypercar? »
Very interesting. And fun, of course! You always expect new experiences in life and this is very different from rallying, of course. I really enjoyed it and learned a lot. But I still have a lot to discover and learn. It is a starting point. Today, I didn’t put any pressure on myself to be immediately quick, you had to be realistic. It was my first apprenticeship in a proto LMP or hypercar, now. Between each stint, the team helped me find the right direction in order to understand the car and its driving. I expected a car with maybe even more potential, though; more downforce, more attack on the brakes. The prototypes have become heavier. In fact, you should not force them too much, the important thing is to find the right line on the track. I would say it’s a relatively easy car to drive, but it’s not necessarily easy to go very fast. But I’m happy with my day, I liked it. Sébastien Ogier « Now I have to make a decision: do I really want to go there and invest myself in endurance » What did you think of your lap times?
I am a little behind the benchmark times of Buemi and Conway (1’50 »647 against 1’48 »865 for the incumbent Mike Conway and 1’49 »636 for the beginner driver of LMP2, Charles Milesi). But frankly, it’s no surprise. The opposite would have been more worrying for them! (he’s laughing) We will have to carefully analyze the lap times now, depending on the different tires at such and such a time and the track conditions to really compare the value of my lap times. In any case, what I expect from the team is a frank and honest account of my day; not that people give me comments just to please me … There is still a lot of room for improvement and now I have to make a decision: do I really want to go there and invest myself in the endurance? It will not happen overnight, it is a very high level category in motorsport and it is not so easy to switch from one to the other and hope to be entry at the top level. . I will try to gain some experience next year and ride a little more.
Do you see yourself in the near future on a GT or LMP2 program? If my goal is to find myself one day necessarily in a top endurance team because I remain a competitor, I think LMP2 will be the best. Of course, GT would be better than nothing and I would already gain experience in this kind of race: I attended the Saturday round and the level of competition is very high. I would probably learn a lot in GT too, but LMP2 will be better if possible. Sébastien Ogier « I still have things to finish in rallying this season » Are you already working on the issue, do you have any plans? Not really, actually. I don’t have much contact in WEC and the goal of this day was really to see it as a starting point And as you know, I still have things to finish in rallies this season; an important job to finish (to obtain an 8th world title of WRC at the rally of Monza from November 19 to 21). Everything in its time. For now, I want to know from the team how the day went because I have no idea after all. I want to know my share of progress, maybe have other testing opportunities to see if I can get in endurance to the level I want to reach. In the meantime, it’s impossible to say more. Have the two days spent on the simulator been useful to you? It helped me with the procedures to be followed in the car, to understand all those buttons on the steering wheel! But we lack feedback on the simulator, it was obviously much more fun and faster today. But it was important for me to have done it. No apprehension in traffic? No, I didn’t make a big mistake, I think. No spinning … I especially tried not to interfere with anyone on the track. »Read also all the news of the rally