Nine-time WRC champion Sébastien Loeb of France will attempt to bring his winning ways to circuit racing when he joins Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse in the DTM season opener. While the race in Portimão, Portugal will be the Frenchman’s first in the DTM series, he’s hardly a rookie, with strong circuit experience to draw on, plus the confidence of a stellar rallyseason so far.
DTM fans can look forward to seeing a new motorsport legend on the grid for the 2022 season opener in Portimão, as French rally star Sébastien Loeb takes the wheel of the Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse Ferrari. Filling in for driver Nick Cassidy, whose Formula E commitments clashed with the calendar, Loeb will pilot a car carrying the livery of Red Bull’s premium fashion brand, AlphaTauri, as he and teammate Felipe Fraga of Brazil launch the team’s defense of the DTM Teams’ Championshiptitle.
ITR Chairman Gerhard Berger, says, “Having the most successful rally driver of all time at our season opener in Portimão is a real highlight for our fans. The successes in his career speak for themselves, but it will also be a tough battle for Sébastien Loeb against 28 other very strong drivers. He will be fighting for points in the AlphaTauri Ferrari, so I'm sure a champion of his caliber will come highly motivated to the race track.”
With nine WRC championships and 80 rally wins, Loeb is considered to be the discipline’s Greatest of All Time, and one of the best drivers in motorsport history, period – and at 48, he shows no signs of slowing down. Already in 2022, he finished runner-up in the car class of the Dakar Rally and won the Monte Carlo Rally just one week post Dakar, in a showdown for the ages against longtime rival Sébastien Ogier.
In all, Loeb’s race program for 2022 includes driving in the WRC, Dakar, the FIA World Rally Raid Championship, Extreme E, and now DTM. “In my career I’ve always enjoyed changing disciplines,” he says. “DTM is a famous championship, so when I had this opportunity to participate, for sure I took it – it’s an exciting challenge because the driving style is completely opposite.”
With the DTM opener rapidly approaching, Loeb says, “Now I’m into the work. I will have to fight against specialists in these kinds of races, and it’s a long time since my last real GT3 race. My goal will be to find my rhythm as best as possible, and I will try to use my experience to give good feedback to the team about the settings of the car. I know it will be tough, but the cars are really fun to drive – really fast, nice cars – so I’m looking forward to it.”
The 2022 season marks DTM’s second campaign in its high-powered new era of GT3 regulations. Each of the season’s eight rounds features two sprint races of 55 minutes plus one lap, without driver changes. On the DTM circuit in Portimão, Loeb will be racing the Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020.