Forget about every race Sebastien Loeb had done before climbing aboard a McLaren MP4-12C GT3 for the first time. That was ground zero in a new chapter of the nine-time World Rally champion's career. Only now is the rally legend turning into an aspiring racing driver in what is his wind-down year with Citroen in the WRC.
Every race the Frenchman did before last year's French GT Championship finale at Paul Ricard, which he contested at the wheel of a Von Ryan Racing McLaren running in the colours of his own Sebastien Loeb Racing team, was about having fun.
That includes sporadic outings in the French Porsche Carrera Cup, French GTs and even his two starts at the Le Mans 24 Hours with Pescarolo Sport, one of which yielded second place.
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Gary Watkins has, for reasons best known to himself, devoted all his working life to covering sportscar racing. This season is his 25th as a motorsport journalist, during which time he has reported on major long-distance events on four continents and approaching 60 24-hour races. He reckons a degree in political philosophy makes him well qualified for covering the sometimes Machiavellian world of international sportscars.
Gary, who also writes for RACER, Autoweek, Motor Sport, Autocourse and others, lives in Surbiton but spends more time on the road than at home for most of the year.