Richard Mille Racing announced on Monday that defending FIA World Rally Champion, Sebastien Ogier will drive for them full-time in the FIA World Endurance Championship for 2022 alongside his rally commitments with Toyota Gazoo Racing.
Speaking about the news, Ogier said:
I know it’s a big challenge, but I have been looking for a programme that motivates me more than the easy option. 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 race tracks!
Ogier, who has been part of the team set up since 2016 is joined by 20-year-old French driver, Lilou Wadoux who will make her WEC debut with the team and speaking about the announcement, she said:
I would like to thank Richard Mille for this opportunity, which follows my first outing with the team at the Bahrain rookie tests. It’s a big step, but I’ve learnt a lot in a short time, especially in areas I didn’t know about, such as downforce, refuelling and driver changes. LMP2 is different to anything I have ever experienced, so I am preparing myself physically and mentally for the challenge. I’ve always been interested in endurance racing because of the team spirit and I will be teamed with two standouts in the sport, which should help to accelerate my learning curve.
Charles Milesi also joins the line-up with the trio replacing, Sophia Floresch, Beitske Visser and Tatiana Calderon (who is competing in IndyCar with AJ Foyt Racing).
Amanda Mille says:
Our initial aim was to call attention to the lack of opportunities for women. It was important for us to start with an all-female team to make our intentions known, compel people to think and challenge reputations. We have had two great years with three women who have proven themselves in an LMP2 prototype in ELMS and then WEC. However, all the female drivers say they want more inclusivity by finding their place in mixed teams. Their dream comes true when men want to drive alongside them in the same team, and this is now our case with a trio promising a fulfilling season both from a human and sporting perspective.’
Wadoux went on to say:
We have a great challenge ahead of us. As last year, I’m joining a new team with two Endurance ‘rookies’. I am confident that we’ll learn from each other to perform well despite the increasingly high level of the LMP2 category. Lilou has demonstrated a knack to adapt wherever she has been and it is an honour to be teamed up with Sébastien after I met him at the Bahrain rookie test with Toyota. Despite coming from a different discipline, his record is simply astonishing. No one wins eight world titles with three different constructors without having above-average technical feedback. The technical staff also have a lot of experience and we are in a cocoon that will help us improve. I look forward to an extremely rewarding season!
Philippe Sinault, Signatech Director and Team Manager said:
We are delighted to continue this exciting adventure with the Richard Mille Racing Team. In all our projects, we have always had a people-oriented approach, and this trio fits perfectly with that spirit. Sébastien expressed his desire to try his hand at endurance racing, and he has tremendous experience in a specific area of our sport. He has a demanding nature, a culture of performance, a thirst for learning and humility that inspires us with confidence. He is certainly a future reference driver in endurance racing whose personality makes us want to work with him, just like Lilou, who can take the pressure off with ease and freshness by fully seizing every single opportunity. We want to develop and exploit their potential by taking the time to ramp things up properly. Lastly, Charles joining the team has given us a great vote of confidence and recognition for our work over the last two years. All three have the perfect approach, an excellent mindset and a willingness to work together. For us, this promises to be a rich year in sporting and emotions!