Jean Todt: “We have iconic teams, brands, drivers and you have amateurs with passion – all that working together is sensational”
In the latest episode of WEC Talk – the official podcast from the FIA World Endurance Championship - we hear from two of the most influential men in motorsport: FIA President Jean Todt and FIA Endurance Commission President, Richard Mille.
Both Todt and Mille attended the FIA WEC season-opener at Spa-Francorchamps, which marked a landmark moment in endurance racing history as the all-new Hypercars made their competitive debut. While at Spa, the two Frenchmen sat down with podcast host Martin Haven to discuss several topics including Hypercar, the future of endurance racing, diversity in motorsport and Todt’s future plans.
Todt started the podcast by talking about the pandemic but highlighted how well the motorsport industry has been able to adapt over the past 12 months.
The FIA President took up the story: “If someone told us early 2020 that we would need a mask to be able to move around and that we are vulnerable, well we wouldn’t have believed it. We have been fortunate in that we have been able to restart motorsport… we managed to be the first international organsiation to restart in July last year in Spielberg for Formula 1 and then all the different championships have been living with a lot of creativity since. Thanks to our promoters, our teams, our competitors… now we are here.”
On the topic of WEC and its future, Mille spoke about the positive road ahead for the championship. The Frenchman explained: “Today we are very happy to see that several famous brands are coming to endurance with Hypercar which is very reasonable in cost. This is important today when budgets are very tight. We prove to be realistic in terms of budget and the objective is to have fantastic cars, and fantastic brands. We are quite satisfied – but it’s certainly not finished!”
Todt added: “We have iconic teams, brands, drivers and you have amateurs with passion – all that working together is sensational.”
When discussing the fact that only 5% of women in motorsport are female, Todt explained: “It’s up to us to create more interest [in motorsport], not only for women but we want to have more multi-national contribution too. It’s all part of a global programme from the FIA called Purpose Driven. We want to create more awareness that it’s not only a sport but it’s also a laboratory for road cars. That motor racing is about making cars safer plus helping the environment, a laboratory to address these crucial topics.”
Mille added: “We are sure that one day that a female team will win the 24 Hours of Le Mans – we are totally devoted to that. We must be open, we must be welcoming and give a chance to everyone to enjoy motor racing. There is no reason for discrimination.”
Later in the podcast, Haven queried Todt about where his passion for motorsport began and his future plans when he reaches the end of his third and final term as the FIA’s President, a role which he first started back in 2009.
Todt concluded: “I think the passion was in my blood. My father was a doctor, he had no interest in cars but I was fascinated with them. A few short decades later, I achieved the start of my dream… I am happy as FIA President but I also have a strong responsibility for road safety around the world. I think when you have some success in your life, it’s time to give something back to others... I am also a founder of a Medical Institute in France, on different boards, President of a foundation in Myanmar… I already have quite a lot on my plate for the future and maybe the best is yet to come.”
Don’t forget to listen HERE. On the same link, you can also find last month’s chat with Iron Lynx driver Katherine Legge as well as several other in-depth interviews with various drivers and key names from the world of endurance racing.
About WEC Talk
Available on various platforms including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Deezer, the WEC’s official podcast promises fans a unique insight into the exhilarating world of sportscars.
With exclusive interviews from drivers, team members, management and legendary figures involved in endurance racing, fans across the world can get their regular sportscars fix by tuning into WEC Talk.