Loeb, who made it nine FIA World Rally Championship crowns in a row in 2012, first started contemplating retirement as a 31-year-old in 2005, his third season as a full-time WRC pilot while he was en route to his second drivers’ title.
“I think already in 2005, I told my mother that I would stop soon,” Loeb told the Sport Auto magazine in France. “But it’s also been a few years that Daniel [Elena] has been saying to me ‘come on, let’s keep going until 2012’ and I always thought ‘is he mad?’ But in the end, here we are in 2012...”
Loeb admits though that what kept him going for so long was that his need for competition was just as great as that of his co-driver. “I needed to keep driving,” he pointed out. “As soon as I realised that, I put Sebastien Loeb Racing into place: so that I could have a long-term future in motorsport. I’m also going to be a brand ambassador for Citroen, but not just somebody who signs autographs: that sort of role doesn’t interest me.”
Ironically, with his nine-round GT campaign in a McLaren and four rallies with Citroen, Loeb is likely to be just as busy in 2013 as he was this year.