Sebastien Ogier thinks there is still plenty of room for him to improve after his first day behind the wheel of Toyota’s championship-winning Le Mans Hypercar.
The seven-time World Rally champion completed over eighty laps in a trouble-free day of running aboard the #8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid, which he shared for the day with Sebastien Buemi.
Ogier’s quickest lap time during the test came in the morning session, when he posted a 01:50:647.
“My day was very interesting, I would say, and fun to be honest,” Ogier said afterwards. “In life, you’re always looking for something new to experience and definitely something where there is no much comparison with rally. I really enjoyed, learned a lot already. Obviously, there is still a lot to learn but it’s a starting point.”
The Frenchman has limited previous experience in sportscars, but has never driven a prototype. With that in mind, Ogier said he tried to keep his expectations low going in.
“I didn’t put so much pressure on myself today about expecting to be fast straight away. You have to be realistic. It was my first time ever in a Hypercar now and it was interesting. The team helped me a lot with between the runs to try to find the direction. Some some things I expected, some not. I maybe expected a car with even more potential.”
“You cannot really push. Basically, you have to find a fine line to drive the car. That’s not easy when you have only been in a simulator before.”
Ogier went on to say that he has yet to fully analyze the results from his maiden outing with the GR010, but that he already felt that there was still some room for improvement to be found before he can make a call on whether or not he wants to go down the endurance racing path. He has previously hinted at wanting to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but Ogier says that decision can’t be made after one day of running.
“Like I said, I didn’t put too much pressure on myself about time today. We will need to analyze a bit more now with the run with new tires or old tires. That’s where you can really see where you are compared to them.”
“Generally, there is still some room for improvement. Now I need to make the decision if I really want to go for it or not. It will not come in one day. That’s like every top category in motor racing is very competitive.
“It’s not that easy to switch from one to the other and expect to be on the top level straight away “I think I will try to work on the plan to get some more experience next year and then running a bit more.”
It is currently unknown if Ogier will contest any endurance sportscar races in 2022 to prepare for a possible role within Toyota’s Hypercar effort. If it were to happen, however, Ogier said he would prefer to race in an LMP2 car to better prepare for the intricacies of prototype competition as opposed to a season with a GT team.
“If I want to have the ambition to be in the top team, I think LMP2 will be better for me to think about than a GT,” the 37-year-old said. “Obviously GT would be better than nothing, I already have the experience of this kind of racing.”
“I’ve seen the races and the GT level is very high. There will be for sure something to learn as well, but LMP2 will be probably even better.”