Toyota confirms Ogier WEC outing discussions

Toyota has confirmed discussions are underway for seven-time World Rally champion Sebastien Ogier to test its World Endurance Championship Hypercar ahead of a possible outing in the series next year.

Toyota confirms Ogier WEC outing discussions

Ogier has confirmed he won’t contest a full season in WRC next year, as the series begins its new hybrid era, and is eyeing opportunities in circuit racing with WEC and the Le Mans 24 Hours top of the list.

The Frenchman flagged earlier this year that whatever happens in 2022 he would like to remain within the Toyota team in some guise.

He could contest a half WRC season or run as few as two rallies for the Japanese brand and dovetail a partial campaign with outings in other forms of motorsport.

Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe technical director Pascal Vasselon has confirmed to Autosport that Ogier has undergone sessions in the outfit’s simulator and talks are ongoing, but there is “no fixed plan” regarding any outings in Toyota’s WEC Hypercar.

“It is something that is in discussion. There is no fixed plan at the moment; it is just something we are looking at,” Vasselon told Autosport.

“He is interested in driving our car and I understand why he would want to drive our Le Mans Hypercar. He has already done some simulator sessions.

“We have put our WEC drivers in rally cars on team-building events, but we've never had a rally driver in one of our prototypes, so it would be quite interesting, I think.”

While competing in WEC is outside of Ogier's comfort zone, the 37-year-old has racked up several circuit racing outings during his career.

Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Photo by: Toyota Racing

 

Ogier has contested Porsche Super Cup events in 2013 and 2014 and raced as a Red Bull Ring wildcard in the DTM back in 2018, finishing 12th and 16th in the two races.

He also tested a 2011 Red Bull Formula 1 car at the Red Bull Ring in 2017.

Should Ogier’s ultimate wish come to fruition he wouldn't be the only rally driver to tackle the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Nine-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb finished second overall in 2006 for Pescarolo Sport, while 1995 WRC champion Colin McRae was third in the GTS class in 2004, driving a Prodrive built Ferrari 550 GTS Maranello.

Speaking prior to Rally Estonia this week, Ogier admitted his 2022 plans are still yet to be confirmed but revealed that he is hopeful of testing Toyota’s WEC Hypercar, and those results could help determine his schedule.

“At the moment I’m still waiting to see what is going to fall in place regarding my switch to maybe the WEC that is my wish you know that,” said Ogier, when asked by Autosport if the recent partial WRC calendar release had helped his future planning.

“Nothing is decided yet. I have some work [to do] and am going to have a [WEC] test at some point to see what I can do with this car and after that maybe I will be able to decide if I do some rally and how many, but at the moment you all have to be patient to hear about my 2022 year.

“The priority for me next year is not motorsport for me, that will remain.”

Ogier’s expected decision to run only a part WRC campaign leaves Toyota searching for a driver to share its third car with former Toyota, Citroen and M-Sport Ford driver Esapekka Lappi and current M-Sport Ford pilot Teemu Suninen among the leading candidates.

shares
comments

Related video

Van der Garde to miss Monza WEC after positive COVID test

Previous article

Van der Garde to miss Monza WEC after positive COVID test

Next article

Monza WEC: Lopez puts Toyota fastest in opening practice

Monza WEC: Lopez puts Toyota fastest in opening practice
Load comments
How glitches left Toyota 'worried' about losing unbeaten WEC streak Plus

How glitches left Toyota 'worried' about losing unbeaten WEC streak

The World Endurance Championship's long-awaited return to Monza posed the sternest test yet for Toyota's new hypercar. Although the Japanese marque's GR010 HYBRID remains unbeaten, the victory for Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi was far from plain sailing

WEC
Jul 19, 2021
How the next step in the IMSA and WEC convergence can reunite multiple fronts Plus

How the next step in the IMSA and WEC convergence can reunite multiple fronts

OPINION: Following the latest convergence connection permitting Le Mans Hypercars from the World Endurance Championship to compete against LMDh entries in the IMSA SportsCar Championship from 2023, it could open up enticing options not only to manufacturers but also for the calendar and race formats

WEC
Jul 13, 2021
How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks Plus

How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks

The screaming rotary-engined Mazda 787 is regarded as one of the most popular Le Mans 24 Hours-winning cars, but until its surprise success on this day 30 years ago it was never regarded as a likely victor. But that reckoned without a new technical partner, some canny political manoeuvring and a rival's bizarre self-inflicted weakness

WEC
Jun 23, 2021
How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge helped Toyota to keep clear Plus

How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge helped Toyota to keep clear

Despite going stride for stride for pace at Portimao, Alpine’s grandfathered LMP1 couldn’t convert pole position into a sustained victory fight against Toyota. And due to rules and car limitations that are set in stone, the French manufacturer will be searching for solutions in its own battle of endurance

WEC
Jun 14, 2021
Toyota hits the ton — charting 100 world championship sportscar starts Plus

Toyota hits the ton — charting 100 world championship sportscar starts

The Japanese manufacturer is celebrating its 100th world championship prototype start in this weekend's Portimao 8 Hours round of the World Endurance Championship. Here are the major milestones on the road to three figures since the earliest low-key days of its entry into the Group C arena nearly 40 years ago

WEC
Jun 12, 2021
The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing Plus

The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing

OPINION: Most of the column inches after the World Endurance Championship's opener were centred around the relative pace of the Hypercar class and the LMP2s, but there's another question that needs addressing in order for the new division to have a successful future

WEC
May 7, 2021
How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era Plus

How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era

Amid concerns that the new Hypercar class would be upstaged on debut by the spec LMP2 machines at Spa, Toyota delivered the pole and victory that the vast majority of observers expected. But neither car had a clean run, which gave the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 an unexpected shot at glory

WEC
May 4, 2021
Seven things to watch in the 2021 World Endurance Championship Plus

Seven things to watch in the 2021 World Endurance Championship

Beyond the slender grid of headline-grabbing hypercars, there are numerous subplots and changes to look out for in the new season of the WEC, which gets underway at Spa this weekend. Here's the seven key things you need to know about

WEC
Apr 30, 2021