Eight time and reigning World Rally champion Sebastien Ogier is expanding his motorsports portfolio to sports car racing, having been confirmed as part of the driver line-up for the Richard Mille Racing LMP2 team in this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship, starting with the season opener at Sebring on March 18. The move follows a pair of test runs for the Frenchman with Toyota Gazoo Racing’s GR010 WEC Hypercar, at Bahrain last November and at the Spanish circuit of Aragon last week.
Ogier (pictured at right, top) will join Charles Milesi and Lila Wadoux in a Signatech-operated ORECA 07 for the coming season, taking the place of the all-female line-up for Richard Mille Racing’s No. 1 car the past two years.
“I know it’s a big challenge, but I have been looking for a program that motivates me more than the easy option,” explained Ogier, who has had personal backing from the Richard Mille Swiss watch brand since 2016. “Up until now, I have focused on my rally career, but it has been on my mind for a long time that endurance racing could be a good challenge. All drivers tend to be a bit self-centered, but there comes a time you want to share more when you are lucky enough to have had a successful career.
“LMP2 is a fantastic category and the best way for me to reach the highest level of endurance racing and improve in this discipline. I am a novice for sure, but I want to enjoy myself while assessing what’s possible and seeing how close I can get to the best. Everyone is excited about it. Charles, Lilou and I come from three different worlds, and it will be interesting to combine our different experiences with Richard Mille, who has been by my side for several years now. This adventure is enticing, but I am aware that I have a lot to learn and a lot of experience to gain. I have always had a good capacity to adapt in rallying, so I hope that this will also be true on racetracks!”
Ogier is running a partial schedule of WRC events for Toyota this year, and finished second for the team at the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally last month. Toyota’s WEC arm tweeted its support for his new program following the announcement: