Stéphane Sarrazin has proved himself to be an accomplished all-rounder – having competed in Formula 1, the World Rally Championship and at Le Mans. Victory in the famous old 24-hour race has remained elusive thus far, Sarrazin having finished second on four occasions so far.
Early racing career
His career started in single-seaters and he won the 1994 French Formula Renault Championship for La Filière in his second season. He graduated to Formula 3 in 1995 and three seasons in the category culminated with Sarrazin’s LD Autosport Dallara F396-Fiat finishing as runner-up behind Patrice Gay in the 1997 French F3 Championship.
He then won the opening round of the 1998 FIA Formula 3000 Championship at a wet Oschersleben and completed an impressive debut season for Gauloises Apomatox sixth in the standings. He remained with the Alain Prost-backed team for 1999 and improved to fourth in the points after winning again in Hungary.
Formula 1 with Minardi
That 1999 season also included an F1 appearance in the Brazilian GP for Minardi but a wild spin was the most memorable aspect of that one-off. However, his 2000 F3000 season with the McLaren-run MySap.com team proved to be a disappointment. He joined Prost Grand Prix as test driver in 2001 and impressed in a one-off return to F3000 for its junior team when third in Monaco.
Rallying and sports cars
He was Toyota’s test driver in 2002 although Sarrazin was now making his first inroads into rallying and sports cars. He made his WRC debut on the 2004 Rallye Deutschland with an Equipe de France FFSA Subaru Impreza WRC and finished fourth in Catalunya. Also that year’s French Rally Champion, Sarrazin was promoted to the works team for 2005 and again finished fourth on the Tour de Corse.
Peugeot returned to sports car racing in 2007 with the diesel 908 HDI FAP and Sarrazin was a mainstay of the operation. He won the Le Mans Series that first year with Pedro Lamy and was sole champion again in 2010 with an ORECA Peugeot.
Challenging for victory at Le Mans
Sarrazin’s Peugeot started the Le Mans 24 Hours from pole position each year from 2007 to 2009 although victory eluded him on each occasion. Second in 2007 and 2009 and third in 2011, he switched to Toyota in 2012 and continued to be a nearly–man at the Circuit de la Sarthe. Second once more in the following year’s race and in 2016, co-driver Kazuki Nakajima qualified on pole position in 2014. He won the Bahrain Six Hours in 2013 and 2014 and scored his third WEC victory at Fuji in 2016.
Three races with Toyota in 2017 included more disappointment at Le Mans. Kamui Kobayashi qualified on pole position and co-driver Mike Conway lead from the start. The number seven Toyota was in a secure lead when Kobayashi was stranded out on the circuit with a broken clutch in the ninth hour.
Sarrazin started four Formula E for Andretti Autosport during 2017/18 without troubling the scorers and joined SMP Racing for the 2018/19 World Endurance Championship. His BRE BR1-AER only finished twice when third at Silverstone and fourth in the 2019 race at Spa-Francorchamps.