The 23-year-old Swiss, FRECA champion in 2021, will be entitled to a double program between the WEC in GT3 with United Autosports and the ELMS in LMP2 with Richard Mille by TDS Racing.
Grégoire, what can you tell us about this double program for 2024?
I changed direction a little in my career. I was in single-seaters until now, but we see that even those who win in Formula2 do not manage to go to Formula1. F1 is every driver's dream, but it remains almost inaccessible. My goal is to be a professional driver and endurance is becoming more and more interesting. Doing the WEC in GT and the ELMS in LMP2 is a good program to show myself in these two categories, in order to reach the highest level of the discipline, that is to say the hypercar.
Let's start with the WEC, how did you come into contact with united autosports?
Via McLaren. Zak Brown, who is also the boss of United Autosports, contacted my sponsor (Richard Mille) and me. I had had contact with him before, but not more than that. I had the opportunity to see him when F3 was taking place as a curtain-raiser to the F1 weekends.
And with TDS Racing, how was the merger made?
They were also the ones who came to pick me up because they were interested in giving me a ride. We thought about it and finally they offered me two days of testing on the Paul-Ricard circuit in November. It went really well, I had a lot of fun. Participating in LELMS with them is also a good opportunity.
You will find at TDS two drivers who are already familiar with endurance and LMP2, Rodrigo Sales and your compatriot Mathias Bêche, do you know them?
I have known Mathias for a while, I was with him when I did my first tests in LMP2 at Paul Ricard. I'm happy to team up with him, he has a lot of experience and has an excellent track record. This will allow me to standardize in this discipline that I am discovering. It will be beneficial to learn as much as possible from him, and interesting to see what we can accomplish together.
What can Mathias and Rodrigo bring you?
Everything that revolves around endurance strategy. It's a completely different format compared to single-seater sprints. They will teach me how to best perform long distance races. Traffic management will be interesting: in ELMS I will have to overtake, while in WEC it will be up to me to let it pass. Mastering this aspect is the most important thing in this discipline.
During your LMP2 test, what differences did you notice compared to driving a single-seater?
For me the LMP2 drives mainly like a single-seater. Certainly it is heavier but as far as braking is concerned, the way of taking the trajectories is very similar. In the cockpit, we can see really well in right-hand turns, but it is less obvious to spot the apex in left-hand curves due to the closed cockpit in front of us. It's a bit complicated in slow corners where you have to be more patient.
How do you deal with having to share the car? in single-seaters you are used to adjusting the car as you wish, in endurance everything is a question of compromise...
Of course, these are two completely different worlds. With my teammates, we will have to work together to go as quickly as possible. I know that Mathias mainly rides with the same settings as me, maybe Rodrigo will evolve a little differently and we will have to go his way too. This is what we learn in endurance.
We've talked about LMP2, but what about GT3? Have you tested the car?
I just completed my first runs with the car this week. It was really good. A lot of people told me that the GT was a completely different car to drive, that you had to put a lot of miles on the car. I'm not saying that I learned everything in two days, but it's a car that I really like. I feel good with the chassis and the brakes. I still have to get used to the ABS that equips all GT3s.
You were talking about the hypercar earlier. By doing LMP2 and GT3 next season, we imagine that the top category occupies a corner of your mind?
Yes the goal will be to join the Hypercar category in 2025 or 2026. My goal is to reach the top of endurance, being a professional driver there are more and more manufacturers and still others will arrive (potentially McLaren in 2026) doing GT in WEC and LMP2 in ELMS, learning new circuits is an excellent thing for the future.
In recent weeks, rumors have reported of a possible arrival of ART Grand PRIX in LMP2 in ELMS next season, before joining forces with a manufacturer for the hypercar afterwards. You were still in the team this year in F3 could you be involved?
It won't be with me. I spent four years with ART, we won FRECA together in 2021, but I now have two other projects for next year and I am 100% focused on that. We'll see what happens next.
Do you also plan to add the 24 Hours of Daytona to your program?
Not for 2024, never say never, but it is not planned for the moment. I already have a program with two very big championships. If it goes well and the opportunity presents itself in the future, I'm not going to say no.
Have you given up on single-seaters for good with this career choice?
I'm not going to say that it's completely finished, but what I want to do now is get my bearings in endurance. We never know. Maybe I can return to single-seaters at some point.