Motorsport News - Le Mans
Larbre Competition completes final preparations ahead of Le Mans 24 Hours
9th June 2012
Larbre Competition assembled at the Château D’Artigny in Montbazon to finalise their preparations for this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours where the Val de Vienne-based outfit will field two factory-supported Corvette C6.Rs on June 16/17.
Final details of the team’s strategy have been reviewed with nothing left to chance ahead of the twice-around-the clock race. The drivers are motivated and spent Sunday’s Test Day finalising set-ups and preparing for the biggest event of the year.
The lap times recorded in both the morning and afternoon sessions demonstrated the balance and strength of the French outfit heading to La Sarthe. The choice of tyre compound has been decided upon in conjunction with Michelin and a new braking system has also been tested.
Finally, revised gear ratios now allow for optimum top-end speed despite the heavy restrictor plate mandated on GTE engines by the ACO. However, it will likely be impossible to reach 300kmh on the long Mulsanne straights where GT1 cars were clocking 320kmh just two years ago.
Following the Test Day, Larbre returned to Val de Vienne where Gary Pratt and other members of Corvette Racing were in attendance to visit the workshop and offer some insider knowledge on the C6.R.
Jack Leconte, Team Owner: “Thankfully, the bad weather forecast for the Test Day did not materialise and we enjoyed six hours of dry running. This allowed us to finalise our tyre choices, fine-tune the aerodynamic balance and push the new braking system to its limits.
“Everything seems to be ready for the 24 Hours. The cohesion within the team is reinforced race-by-race, while all the drivers have thoroughly enjoyed returning to this unique 13km circuit. We will be stronger than ever when we take on our GTE rivals, who count prestigious brands like Ferrari, Porsche and Aston Martin amongst their number.
“Meanwhile, the fans who will cheer us on at La Sarthe turned out in numbers during the Test Day to give us a glimpse of the support they’ll provide throughout the race. We hope to see you all at 5pm on Sunday (June 10) at Place de la République for the scrutineering of cars #50 and #70.”
Patrick Bornhauser, #50 Corvette C6.R: “I am very happy with how the Test Day went. The car was well prepared and set-up, so as soon as we hit the track we were recording the best GTE Am lap times. Personally, I was very satisfied with my own pace throughout the day. I think I was as fast as Julien, which makes me even happier about my performance as I only covered 20 laps.”
Julien Canal, #50 Corvette C6.R: “The first Test Day brings with it the emotion of returning to the famous Le Mans circuit. We were able to run the car with different set-ups and my initial feelings about the C6.R are very positive. The Corvette is comfortable to drive and enjoys good performance, which is very encouraging for the upcoming race. I will remain focused as we know that the 24 Hours has its twists and turns, so we must share all our experience within the team in order to prepare the best strategy possible.”
Pedro Lamy, #50 Corvette C6.R: “It’s great to be back amongst the Larbre Competition family and to be returning to the Le Mans 24 Hours. I had the pleasure of kicking off the World Endurance Championship campaign with them at Sebring alongside Jack Leconte and my team-mates. It was important to re-learn my reference points with the Corvette C6.R on this very particular circuit. The set-up came good quickly and apart from some small adjustments we were right on the pace, finishing the day with the second fastest time. My friends Julien and Patrick have also driven well and recorded similar lap times. The final set-up changes will take place on Wednesday and Thursday before the big race, which I would really like to win!”
Pascal Gibon, #70 Corvette C6.R: “It is always special to return to this track. The day did not go quite as we wished in terms of running time: I did around 20 laps, which is not enough to get into a good rhythm. The afternoon was better but there is still work to do, so I will finish my preparation during Wednesday’s free practice sessions.”
Christophe Bourret, #70 Corvette C6.R: “Our morning running was cut short by some small mechanical problems. The afternoon got off to a better start with a new set of fresh medium-compound tyres that Jean-Philippe made good use of. On my side, I tried to build up to a good pace, and though not quite there yet I’m not far away.”
Jean-Philippe Belloc, #70 Corvette C6.R: “We are a little frustrated with how the Test Day went as between a very dirty track, sporadic showers, changing air temperature, offs by competitors that stopped the session and some small technical issues we were not able to get enough running to finish our programme. Nevertheless, we know that Christophe, Pascal, myself and the car are performing well. It is now up to us and the Larbre team to ensure that this performance lasts 24 hours.”
Larbre Competition will next take to the La Sarthe circuit on Wednesday (June 13) for free practice and the first night qualifying session. The following day will see the team compete in a further two qualifying sessions before taking part in Friday’s traditional driver’s parade. The main event, the 80th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours, gets underway on Saturday (16 June) at 3pm local time.
Sunday 10th June
14:30 – 19:00 Administrative Checks and Scrutineering
Larbre Competition scheduled for checks at 17:00
Monday 11th June
10:00 – 18:00 Administrative Checks and Scrutineering
Tuesday 12th June
17:00 Drivers’ autograph session
Wednesday 13th June
16:00 – 20:00 Free practice sessions
22:00 – 24:00 Qualifying practice session 1
Thursday 14th June
19:00 – 21:00 Qualifying practice session 2
22:00 – 24:00 Qualifying practice session 3
Friday 15th June
10:00 – 20:00 Pit Walk
17:30 – 19:30 Drivers’ parade (City centre)
Saturday 16th June
09.00 – 09:45 Warm-up
14:22 Starting procedure begins
15:00 Start of the 80th Le Mans 24 Hours
Sunday 17th June
15:00 Finish of the 80th Le Mans 24 Hours
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