Ogier: LMP2 best bet for 2022 endurance switch

Seven-time World Rally champion Sebastien Ogier says the LMP2 class would be his preferred option for an endurance racing switch in 2022 after completing his maiden test in Toyota's Hypercar.

Ogier: LMP2 best bet for 2022 endurance switch

The Frenchman is considering a move into sportscars next year, having already announced that this month’s season-closing Rally Monza will be his final appearance in WRC as a full-time rally driver.

The Toyota driver, who currently leads the WRC standings from team-mate Elfyn Evans, got his first taste of the title-winning GR010 Hybrid on Sunday as he shared the car with three-times Le Mans 24 Hours winner Sebastien Buemi in the World Endurance Championship's Bahrain rookie test.

Toyota will have at least one vacancy in its driver line-up next year with Kazuki Nakajima stepping down from his current role, but it’s widely expected that Super GT and Super Formula frontrunner Ryo Hirakawa will be promoted to his seat.

With chances of racing in the WEC’s top category in the 2022 season appearing limited, and Ogier feeling he needs more time to become competitive in sportscars, the 37-year-old says LMP2 might be the best possible route to take next year.

“If I want to have the ambition to be in a top team, LMP2 will probably be better,” he said.

“Obviously GT will be better than nothing to getting the experience of this kind of racing.

“And I've seen the racing in GT, level is very high and for sure there will be something to learn as well, but probably LMP2 will be even better.”

#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing: Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Sebastien Ogier

#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing: Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Sebastien Ogier

Photo by: Toyota Racing

Ogier has made no secrets about his desire to compete at Le Mans and fighting for overall victory with Toyota remains his long-term goal.

“I would say yes the ambition is there, but it's probably still some way to go,” he said.

“It's something I need to discuss with them, try to get their feedback on the first day [of testing the car].

“I'm aware that I have some work to do to be ready for that. I honestly don't like anyway to be given the free chance to go now [and race in Hypercar], not being at a level I want to be.”

Ogier completed 84 laps over the course of the five-hour test, ending up less than two seconds off the pace of two-time WEC champion Mike Conway in the leading Toyota with a best time of 1m49.636s.

He explained that he wasn’t trying to chase fast laps as he tried to acclimatise himself with the car, although he did “mess up” a flyer on new tyres in the afternoon session.

“My day was very interesting and fun to be honest, in life you're always looking for new experiences," he said.

“I learned a lot already. Obviously, there’s still a lot to learn but it's a starting point.

“I didn't put so much pressure on myself today about being fast straight [away], you have to be realistic. It was my first time ever in a hypercar.

Sebastien Ogier, Toyota Racing

Sebastien Ogier, Toyota Racing

Photo by: Toyota Racing

“I expected a car with even more potential [to drive flat out]. You cannot really push really, you have to find a fine line to drive the car and that's not easy when you've only done the simulation before.

“But generally I'm happy with my day and I really enjoyed it.”

Ogier added that getting used to the car’s braking and traction control systems were the biggest challenges he faced on his first day of testing.

“With braking I expected even more downforce, more attack on brakes,” he said.

“I don't have much experience with this kind of car. But I did one run in DTM, one test in F1 and I expected something closer to that in terms of brake attack.

“It's pretty sensitive and it's pretty easy to lock the wheels in this car. That's one of the things I discovered today.

“Working the traction control, which is something you can adjust a little bit, [was hard]. It was a bit stronger than expected.

“Somehow it made the car a little easier to drive but not easy to be fast with. Those will be two areas I probably struggled with today.”

shares
comments

Related video

Lapierre fastest as Ogier turns first laps in WEC rookie test
Previous article

Lapierre fastest as Ogier turns first laps in WEC rookie test

Next article

WRT 'widened the eyes' of its rivals with LMP2 title success

WRT 'widened the eyes' of its rivals with LMP2 title success
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Plus

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, were voted as Autosport's greatest sportscar in 2020 - here's why

WEC
Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Plus

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
The problem sausage kerbs continue to cause Plus

The problem sausage kerbs continue to cause

Track limits are the problem that motorsport doesn't seem to be able to rid itself of. But the use of so-called 'sausage kerbs' as a deterrent has in several instances only served to worsen the problem, and a growing number of voices want to see action taken

Formula 1
Jul 18, 2022
The history lessons Peugeot should have learned on its return Plus

The history lessons Peugeot should have learned on its return

The Peugeot 9X8 will make its World Endurance Championship debut at Monza this weekend. The French manufacturer has gone radical and will be hoping it doesn’t need to overhaul its contender, as it did with its first Le Mans challenger…

WEC
Jul 8, 2022
Why Peugeot's sportscar return will capture the imagination Plus

Why Peugeot's sportscar return will capture the imagination

OPINION: Peugeot will make its World Endurance Championship debut at Monza this weekend with the 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar that has ignored design conventions by eschewing a rear wing. Its distinctive look will help sportscar racing appeal to fresh audiences as a new golden era is ushered in

WEC
Jul 7, 2022
How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes Plus

How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes

Eight Formula E drivers made the 7,000-mile sprint from the streets of Jakarta to the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe and every one had a story to share at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite a range of triumphs and disappointments, each driver doubling up on the day job played a key role in their teams' fortunes

Le Mans
Jun 14, 2022
How an Italian junior formula giant is readying for its Le Mans future Plus

How an Italian junior formula giant is readying for its Le Mans future

Prema remains a colossus in single-seaters, but the serial Formula 2 and Formula 3 title-winning squad has joined forces with top GT squad Iron Lynx for an attack on sportscars in the World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series. Ahead of its debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours, its sights are firmly fixed on LMP2 glory – and a future in Hypercars next year...

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022
The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans Plus

The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans

Three young Britons will make their first starts in the Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend in the highly-competitive 23-car GTE Am field. But how did they get here? Autosport hears their stories.

Le Mans
Jun 7, 2022