Sebastien Ogier says a move into LMP2 competition could be a first step in his transition to sports car racing, with the rally legend expressing the “ambition” to be in the Hypercar class fighting for overall wins.
The seven-time World Rally champion turned his first laps in Toyota’s GR010 Hybrid Le Mans Hypercar during Sunday’s Bahrain Rookie Test ahead of a potential career switch.
While not yet actively searching for a ride, the 37-year-old Frenchman, who is set to drop back to a partial-season WRC effort with Toyota Gazoo Racing next year, said he needs to evaluate his options for the short-term.
“I would say yes, the ambition is there,” Ogier said. “[But] it’s probably some way to go.
“It’s very fresh right now so it’s something I need to discuss with [Toyota] and really try to get their feedback on this first day.
“What they really think I’ve done, I cannot say right now.
“I’m aware I have some work to do to be ready for that. I honestly don’t like to give the free chance to go [to Hypercar] now and not being at the level I want to be.”
When asked if he sees an opportunity to be in a third car for Toyota at Le Mans next year, Ogier admitted that “nothing is impossible.”
TGR-E technical director Pascal Vasselon downplayed the chances of the Japanese manufacturer expanding to a third LMH entry for 2022, stating that it’s “not currently in the plan” and would”t be made to “only to please a driver or another.”
Ogier said: “It depends on what I do before [to prepare].
“It’s still a short time. I think nothing is impossible. To be very honest I don’t know the rules in this category about testing, what you can or cannot do.”
Ogier said a foray into LMP2 competition to potentially prepare for a top-class effort could be a reasonable short-term target.
“If I want to have the ambition to be in a top team, I think LMP2 will be better probably to think about than GT,” he said.
“Obviously GT would be better than nothing because you are getting the experience of these kinds of races.
“I saw the race in GT and the level was very high, so for sure there would be something to learn there as well. But probably LMP2 will be even better, if possible.”
He added: “I was waiting for this day to make a first starting point.
“I had not much contact with the WEC team before today. Like you know, I am still also active in rallying and still have some things going on this season, and a job to finish.
“One step after another.”