Sébastien Loeb Racing opens a new chapter with rally programme
“The team was bound to get involved in rallying!”
Four years after its official introduction back in December 2011 in Haguenau, the Sébastien Loeb Racing is now ready to open a new important chapter in its history. The Alsace-based team which had only been competing on track up to now, is about to start… rallying! A new step which promises to be exciting for the team’s co-founders Sébastien Loeb and Dominique Heintz, since rallying is where it all began for them. Daniel Elena will also be involved in this project which will begin with an entry in the FIA Junior World Rally Championship.
Sébastien Loeb : “The team was bound to get involved in rallying!”
The Sébastien Loeb Racing has been growing steadily year after year, competing in France obviously but also internationally. Throughout the past four seasons the team has continually been a contender in the Porsche Carrera Cup France and the French GT Championship, having also raced in the 2013 FIA GT Series and participated in the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours. In 2015 it expanded its racing programme by entering the World Touring Car Championship, a project which will continue in 2016.
However the squad from Soultz-Sous-Forêts is now about to write a very special page of its own history as Sébastien Loeb and Dominique Heintz have decided for their team to start rallying! While the two men became friends through that discipline, in 1997, before Sébastien went onto clinching nine World titles, it is now time for the Sébastien Loeb Racing to defend its colours in special stages.
“The team was bound to get involved in rallying!” Sébastien Loeb confides. “We first decided to compete on track mainly because that’s where my career was going to take me, but we knew that one day rallying would be on the agenda. We just had not to rush into it but wait until all the necessary elements would be gathered. That’s the case today, the team has acquired enough experience on track to be able to run the two projects simultaneously. Plus we’ll get logistical and coordination support from Daniel’s company All Sports Management. Rallying is obviously very special for Dominique, Daniel and I: that’s where it all started, we’ve enjoyed some incredible moments and we do hope to have a great experience with the team. The J-WRC was a natural choice: it’s a championship that supports young drivers and enables them to shine and come to fame. I’ve been through that stage myself, almost 15 years ago. We’re very enthusiastic!”
Dominique Heintz: “It’s the right time”
For its first season in rally racing the Sébastien Loeb Racing will take part in the full J-WRC programme with a Citroën DS3 R3 Max. Discussions are now at an advanced stage and the name of the Junior driver shall soon be unveiled.
“It’s simply a great moment for the team” Dominique Heintz adds. “We’d been thinking about it for a while and we felt that it could just be the right time to do it now. The team continues to grow on the track and will pick up momentum again in 2016 with several racing programmes, one of which will be the WTCC. But rallying is in our genes. It makes perfect sense for us and I’m really happy that it will become a reality in 2016. We’ve managed to put this jigsaw puzzle together. It’s just happened very naturally.
“To race under Sébastien Loeb’s name will not only be a big honor for everybody but also a great responsibility. We’ll have to live up to it. We know that there’ll be expectations but we definitely want to be humble facing this challenge. We’ll have to process step by step without rushing through our first learning phase. The programme will be built accordingly. We’ve been working at it for several weeks, in fact months, and that’s why we’ve called on Daniel and All Sports Management. It’s fantastic that Sébastien and Daniel will get together for this project.”
Daniel Elena: “Glad to be alongside Sébastien and Dominique”
As for coordination and logistics, the Sébastien Loeb Racing will rely on the experience of All Sports Management. Based in Monaco and run by Executive Director Daniel Elena, the company has been involved in rallying for around ten years, working most particularly alongside young drivers. Following on their entry in the Dakar, Daniel and Sébastien will come together again, around Dominique Heintz, for this new project.
“I’m aware that this is a special time for Dominique and Sébastien, as their team starts rallying, and I’m glad to be there by their side” Daniel Elena explains. “It’s a fantastic challenge for the Sébastien Loeb Racing and All Sports Management. We’re going to bring our rally experience and expertise through many different aspects. We’re sharing the same philosophy, same desires and determination.”
Besides their involvement in rallying, the Sébastien Loeb Racing will also enter several Citroën C-Elysée in the WTCC. The team is currently considering other on-track programmes too, whether with its Porsche 911 GT3 Cup or Audi R8 LMS ultra.
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