Ogier open to lower-level endurance seat for Le Mans preparation

Sebastien Ogier has suggested he would be open to a race programme in the lower ranks of endurance racing next year as he aims to fulfil his ambition of contesting the Le Mans 24 Hours.

As previously reported by Motorsport.com, Ogier is set to test Toyota’s Le Mans Hypercar in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s end-of-season rookie test in Bahrain as he prepares to bring down the curtain on his full-time rallying career.

The Frenchman has already ruled out contesting a full WRC campaign in 2022, although he is expected to contest a limited number of events at the wheel of a hybrid-powered Toyota GR Yaris alongside any WEC commitments.

A full-time Toyota WEC seat for Ogier in 2022 appears unlikely at this stage, as does the prospect of a Japanese marque running a third GR010 Hybrid at Le Mans.

However, when asked for the latest on his future plans ahead of this weekend’s Rally Finland, Ogier said racing in a lower category may also be an option.

This wouldn’t be without precedent as Toyota supported SUPER GT champion Kenta Yamashita to contest the full 2019/20 WEC season for LMP2 team High Class Racing.

“I think I will be open to make any step to progress if it’s needed,” said Ogier, who has limited circuit racing experience in the DTM and Porsche Supercup. “I would totally understand that it would take time.

“I don’t expect to jump in this WEC car and be the best, you have to be realistic.

“For sure it’s quite different to what I have done so far, but I think this first test [in Bahrain] will give us an idea about it and we will discuss with the team what’s the best plan for me and best plan for all of us, for the team.”

Sebastien Ogier, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA

Sebastien Ogier, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA

Photo by: James Gasperotti / Motorsport Images

Ahead of the WEC rookie test on November 7, which follows a day on from the season-ending Bahrain 8 Hours, Ogier is set to undertake two days in the Toyota simulator in Cologne.

Ogier underlined that he won’t make any decision on the make-up of his 2022 WRC programme until he knows what his options are to race in the WEC next season.

“I want to see with my first test with the WEC car [in Bahrain] and see the amount of work I still have to do to have maybe a chance or a programme in this category, and at least see what 2022 is like in terms of a WEC programme for me, and then after that maybe make a clearer plan about WRC,” said the seven-time champion.

“But the truth is we right now anyway don’t have much of a calendar for WRC next year, so that’s also something I will need to make some plan [for].”

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