Show time for Larbre Competition at 24h Le Mans 2016

Show time for Larbre Competition at 24h Le Mans 2016

18.06.2016: • 84th running of French endurance classic starts at 15:00, local time • French GT experts line up sixth on LMGTE Am grid




•    84th running of French endurance classic starts at 15:00, local time
   
•    French GT experts line up sixth on LMGTE Am grid
   



The day of the big race has come for Larbre Competition and the other 59 teams contesting this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.


Making its 24th appearance at Circuit de la Sarthe, the Vigeant-based team will line up sixth in the LMGTE Am category for the 84th running of the French endurance classic.


Having shown strong potential in the #50 Corvette C7.R, the trio of Pierre Ragues, Yutaka Yamagishi, and Jean-Philippe Belloc are now looking forward to the showpiece event of the season.


Across its racing history, Larbre has already claimed five class wins (1993, 1994, 2010, 2011, and 2012) with four different constructors in the world’s most gruelling motorsport event.


 The latter also serves as round three of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship with double points awarded in what remains the series’ highlight.


Rain has been playing havoc around the 13.629km venue this week, though changing track conditions allowed Larbre to review a wide array of setups and sampled all Michelin compounds.


The Val-de-Vienne  squad could thus collect plenty of valuable data, which shall come in handy when adjusting the race strategy based on weather conditions that are expected to remain quite fickle.


Sporting its famous #50, Larbre’s machine is one of the four C7.Rs competing at Circuit de la Sarthe this year.


Having enjoyed a strong partnership with Corvette for five seasons, Jack Leconte’s team has already won the world’s most gruelling race with the US manufacturer twice.


On the drivers’ side, the Team Manager can rely on a solid and experienced trio that have already combined for 22 starts at Le Mans. For his first season competing in GT, Pierre immediately found his feet and confirmed to be a fast and safe pair of hands.


The Caen-born racer, who was already part of the Larbre line-up in the 2014 edition, is reaching an important milestone this year with a 10th entry at La Sarthe.


Following his late call up to replace the injured Paolo Ruberti, Jean-Philippe is also making his 10th appearance in the twice-around-the-clock event.


With three Le Mans starts at Larbre before this season, the Frenchman quickly got back up to speed within the team.


Yutaka, for his part, is driving for the fifth time in the Endurance season showpiece, though it is the Japanese’s maiden FIA WEC campaign. Since joining Larbre, the former Super GT ace has shown steady improvement as he learns from his crew-mates.


Friday afternoon saw the Larbre threesome enjoy the thrills and spills of the Le Mans crowd as they toured the city during the traditional Drivers’ Parade. This morning, Larbre had the opportunity to have a final dress rehearsal with the pre-race warm up.


At 15:00 local time, Hollywood star Brad Pitt will wave the famous Tricolore as the grandiose music of “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” rings out, thus signalling the start of the 84th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours.


Pierre Ragues:
“It is quite special to race at Le Mans for a 10th time and I am delighted to be sharing this milestone with Larbre Competition.


“I feel very comfortable behind the wheel of the Corvette C7.R and am quite confident entering my first edition in a GT car. After last Sunday’s Pesage, it was great to meet the local fans again during the Drivers’ Parade on Friday.


“Everybody in the team is now raring to go for what remains the most beautiful race in the world.”


Yutaka Yamagishi: “The Drivers’ Parade is one of the highlights during the Le Mans 24 Hours week and the 2016 instalment delivered the goods as usual with plenty of fans cheering us on as we toured the city centre. I’d like to extend my warmest thanks to them for the support!


“We now shift our focus on our season’s showpiece. At Larbre Competition, I have a great working environment and have been able to make steady progress since the opening race in Silverstone.


 I’ll give everything to contribute towards the collective effort and help the team claim a strong result.”


Jean-Philippe Belloc: “
The big day has finally come! After a couple weeks of intense, fast-track preparations, I can’t wait for the 24 Hours of Le Mans to get started!


“As early as the official Test Day, I could see how much potential the Corvette C7.R has and how reliable the car is. Combined with Larbre Competition’s expertise and experience, I am confident we can have a good race this weekend.


“I’d like to thank Jack Leconte for his trust, as well as Christophe Bourret, who made it possible for me to contest this wonderful race for a 10th time in my career.”




Jack Leconte, Team Manager:
“A lot of things have changed since Larbre first competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. All the teams have become extremely professional and the level of competition is higher than ever.


“The essential values do remain, namely the passion for racing and the pleasure to bring the team to the top, all this in an unrivalled atmosphere as we could see again during the Drivers’ Parade on Friday.


“On the back of a promising start to our FIA WEC campaign, I hope we can write another fantastic chapter in our successful story at La Sarthe.”




2016 Le Mans 24 Hours schedule*

Saturday 18th June: Start of 84th Le Mans 24 Hours at 15:00

Sunday 19th June: Finish of 84th Le Mans 24 Hours, podium celebrations


*All times are local

 
 
Anthony Peacock, photos Vision Sport Agency

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18.06.2016 / MaP

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