Charles Milesi: the 21-year-old Le Mans champion showing Sébastien Ogier the ropes

Le Mans News

Young Charles Milesi has already taken the LMP2 world by storm – now he's giving driving tips to his team-mate Sébastien Ogier

Charles Milesi wearing helmet

Milesi's laser-like focus belies his young age


What were you doing when you were 21? Still at university? Contemplating a gap year? Taking those early steps in the world of work?

21-year-old Charles Milesi hasn’t done any of those things, but that’s probably because he was too busy – preoccupied winning Le Mans and the World Endurance Championship for LMP2 WRT in his very first full year of sports car racing.

You wouldn’t guess the achievements by meeting the quiet, unassuming French youngster, but he’s someone his team-mate says “shouldn’t be so humble – he’s very quick.” That team-mate being seven-time WRC champion Sébastien Ogier.

Along with the rally legend and young female racer Lilou Wadoux, Milesi makes up part of the Richard Mille Racing team currently taking on the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year.

With the outfit partly a platform to help female racers reach the top of the sport and also (for the time-being at least) a vehicle to help Ogier find his feet in endurance racing before he potentially drives one of Toyota’s Hypercars, the team’s other Frenchman is now the one helping this fledgling outfit find its feet in WEC and this year’s Le Mans.

WRT LMP2 Oreca

First full year in WEC for Milesi brought unprecedented LMP2 success

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Milesi’s father Patrice raced in GT racing at a lower level, and early on in an interview before the big event the thoroughbred racing youngster emphasises his love of pure competing.

“I think the joy of it is when you just focus on driving, when you just forget everything and focus on being quickest,” he says.

“Speed is something I like. Some categories are only about qualifying, but LMP [disciplines] are about driving and racing.”

For the straightforward Milesi, nothing much has changed since his initial success in 2021.

“For sure last year was successful,” he says. “But my role is not really different because last season I was the same person. As a driver and also personally I still see areas where I can improve.”

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Le Mans 2022 is endurance racing back in full flow once more after the global pandemic. A 280,000 strong crowd is watching the action this weekend, in temperatures the best part of 30C, and with the dawn of the Hypercar age, there’s more noise around sports cars than ever – the Signatech team [which also runs the RM car] boss Guiseppe Bizzoca tells Motor Sport that “endurance racing is becoming a destination, not an alternative, for drivers – it’s great to see.”

However, though Covid at first stopped and then limited the international racing scene, Milesi found some serenity in those limited access paddocks, allowing him to focus on the job in hand.

“The experience I had two years ago was different, because with Covid it was a bit less stressful,” he says. “With a lot of people around it’s harder for me, but I still just try to be in my zone.

Despite his insistences of a direct approach though, Milesi’s role has changed. Last year the Frenchman was partnered with the Formula E race-winner Robin Frijns and the experienced Ferdinand Habsburg.

Richard Mille LMP2 car at Le Mans

Richard Mille car started seventh in a 28-car LMP2 field at Le Mans ’22 – driven by Milesi

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Now, he’s suddenly the most experienced sports car driver on the team, dishing out driving tips to a seven-time WRC champion and the mercurially talented Wadoux.

“If I can give out advice, I do,” he says. “For example, the traffic here is very important, it’s sometimes harder to judge the distances to other cars. You need to know when to go for it and when to be conservative.

“Also with saving fuel for the end, knowing when to lift, coming into corners and when you’re following another car.

“Le Mans is a particular track, it’s a road course, so there’s parts of the track where it can be tricky for the tyres or the car, because it can damage you know the suspension and the bodywork.

“It’s all about finding the limits with this car and track.”

Milesi is still humble, despite what he has achieved in a small space of time.

“There’s a lot of places where you can give some advice but for the moment I still [feel like I] haven’t fully experienced Le Mans myself, it’s only my third time. I mean last year it was quite successful, but there’s still a lot to learn on my side.

“They [his team-mates] can be quick or quicker than me though, for sure. As driver you want to be the fastest every time but sometimes you need to think that it’s about endurance and to be quite consistent. I’m not considering myself as a team leader. ”

One of his team-mate protests though, saying there’s a different side to the story.

Lilou Wadoux Sebastien Ogier and Charles Milesi in the Richard Mille LMP2 car

Milesi is now giving pointers to hi steam-mates Ogier and Wadoux

Richard Mille

“He shouldn’t be so humble,” stresses Ogier. “He gives us good data, and was being a bit humble by saying that we [Ogier and Wadoux] can be as quick as him, because he is easily the quickest.

“From him I try to learn where we can gain time and where we can improve our driving.”

No small thing then with one of the greatest drivers of all time singing your praises, but Milesi will keep his feet firmly on the floor.

“I’m still the same person as last year,” he insists. “I will always just try to keep improving.”

The key is finding the limit then, for a Le Mans winner and title-holder at such a young age.