24h Le Mans
07/06/2019 - 17:01

Thomas Laurent (Rebellion Racing): "We're definitely seeking a podium finish."

At just 21 years old, French driver Thomas Laurent has two podium finishes in as many starts at the 24 Hours to his credit. A true rising star in endurance racing, he will be representing Swiss team Rebellion Racing in the LMP1 category at this year's running of the race. Before joining TOYOTA GAZOO Racing as a reserve driver next season, Laurent is hoping for a third consecutive podium at Le Mans.
Thomas Laurent (Rebellion Racing): "We're definitely seeking a podium finish."

In just three seasons, you've been LMP3 vice-champion in the Asian Le Mans Series and have claimed two podium finishes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Is it fair to say your career in endurance racing is skyrocketing?

"It's true things have happened fast for me. For two years, my goal has been to join an official team, and I'm about to become a reserve and test driver for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing next season. It's great to advance year after year. I can't wait to get started, but in the meantime I'm remaining focused on what I need to do here at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Rebellion Racing."

Last year, you reached the third step on the podium with the Swiss team. What do you remember?

"It was wonderful. To watch the crowd engulf the pit straight was extraordinary. I'd like to see that again a third time this year after also finishing second in 2017 with Jackie Chan DC Racing. Making it on the podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the fulfillment of a childhood dream. Rebellion Racing is going after first place this year even though Toyota is the favorite to win."

We really believe in all the changes we've made to the car.
Thomas Laurent, Rebellion Racing

This season, you won the 6 Hours of Silverstone. Looking back, how would you describe your 2018-2019 FIA World Endurance Championship Super Season?

"Very positively. The team and my teammates just kept getting better and better (Gustavo Menezes and Nathanaël Berton, Ed.). Now, our performance level is very high. Nathanaël joined us relatively recently. We welcomed him with open arms and he feels good. He's level-headed and we're going to continue working together toward an excellent race all together."

What is the result Rebellion Racing hopes to achieve?

"We want to do at least as well as last year. We're definitely seeking a podium finish."

What are your thoughts on the current Rebellion R13-Gibson as compared to last year at the race?

"Last year we had problems with reliability. Since then, the team has made great strides. We really believe in all the changes we've made to the car."

What do you remember about the Rookie Test you did with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing at Bahrain in December 2017?

"It was excellent, and a great way to end the season. I had wonderful people around me and the team welcomed me very well. I can't wait to see what the future holds for me. I will serve as a reserve and test driver for the team, which means I'll be spending a lot of time in the simulator and taking part in private testing sessions."

Will you have an opportunity to drive for another team at the same time?

"Yes, but not in competition with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. So, I will not be able to drive for Rebellion Racing. On the other hand, I am actively looking to join a team in the LMP2 category in the FIA WEC. Being a reserve driver doesn't mean I'm sidelined, and that's a really good thing. If the opportunity arised to become an official driver within the team, I'm ready. It would be a just reward for all the sacrifices I've made since my start in karting."

At Test Day for the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans this past Sunday, the #3 Rebellion R13-Gibson clocked the fifth fastest time in 3:22.194 and completed 70 laps.

 

PHOTO: LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES DU MANS, SUNDAY 2 JUNE, TEST DAY. At 21 years old, Thomas Laurent is one to watch in endurance racing. He has already claimed a podium finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice, and next season, he plans to reunite with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing as a reserve and test driver. 

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