Following a two-day test in the driving simulator with Toyota Gazoo Racing, defending WRC champion Sébastien Ogier has been confirmed to test the real deal FIA WEC Hypercar GR010 in early November. Toyota will pull their star rallyist out to Bahrain for the FIA WEC rookie test on the 7th of November, just 11 days before he’s set to finish out the rally season at Rally Monza. The test comes just after the WEC season finale double header 6 Hours of Bahrain and 8 Hours of Bahrain events.
Ogier currently leads the 2021 WRC championship points standings by just 17 points over teammate Elfyn Evans. If he continues on form for that last rally, he’ll win his eighth WRC title in nine seasons.
In preparation for the test he went to the Toyota Gazoo race shop in Cologne, Germany to get fitted for a seat for the hybrid hypercar, as well as spend some time in the driving simulator familiarizing himself with the car and the track. While his Yaris WRC car is already impressive with incredible downforce and gobs of power, it’s nowhere near as fast as the GR010 Hybrid on pavement. While his rally car might have 380 horsepower, the hypercar puts down closer to 700.
Ogier will be joined at the rookie test by 20-year-old Le Mans LMP2 winner Charles Milesi. The pair will test for five hours of running in the car at Bahrain on Sunday, November 7th, with a two hour session in the morning and a three hour afternoon finisher.
Sébastien Ogier: “I’m happy to be driving the GR010 Hybrid Hypercar on track for the first time in the official WEC rookie test in Bahrain. The simulator session went well; it was nice to work with the team and discover the GR010 Hybrid for the first time. I could already feel that the Hypercar is very different to the TS050 Hybrid, which I drove on the simulator last year. As everyone knows, it’s a dream of mine to compete in endurance racing in the future and the test in Bahrain is important to learn more about the car and about my own level. It’s a big challenge for me and I’m working hard to be ready for Bahrain, but I’m really looking forward to it.”
Ogier is set to continue racing in WRC for the 2022 season, when the series will adopt a new hybrid ruleset, albeit with a new co-driver. He will only run a partial season, however, splitting time in the car with Finland’s Esapekka Lappi. Perhaps this time in the seat of the Toyota Hypercar means we will see him race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen rally pilots step into a sports car role. And it probably won’t be the last.