May 19

Larbre Competition ready for Le Mans 24 Hours after Monza ELMS outing

Solid performance for the #50 Corvette C7.R in the 4 hours of Monza

2016-11-17-Thursday-0014Larbre Competition made a promising return to the European Le Mans Series at Monza last weekend as the team ramped up its preparations for the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours next month (17-18 June).

On board the French team’s famed #50 Corvette C7.R, Fernando Rees, Romain Brandela, and Christian Philippon finished sixth in the LMGTE class.

Apart from scoring a good result, the main objective for Jack Leconte and his squad at the ‘Italian Temple of Speed’ was to run through the procedures they will face at La Sarthe. This mission was accomplished and there’s already a strong relationship between the three drivers who will represent Larbre on its 25th appearance in the 24 Hours in June.

The Val de Vienne-based team shone immediately in Monza, setting the second fastest time of first practice on Friday. The #50 Corvette’s potential was confirmed when it was the fastest in class on Saturday morning during the second practice session, before going second quickest in qualifying.

On his return to Larbre after winning the FIA WEC GTE-Am title with the team in 2012, Rees took the start of the race on Sunday. Having dropped down the order after contact with an LMP3 prototype on the first lap, the Brazilian fought back to second place.

Despite the #50 losing time after further contact, Brandela and Philippon used this ‘shakedown’ weekend to gather a wealth of experience before the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours.

Following its successful return, Larbre Competition will now focus on the Le Mans official test day (4 June).

Fernando Rees: “Last weekend in Monza acted as a full-scale test for the Le Mans 24 Hours and we’ve accomplished our mission, for both myself and Larbre Competition. The Corvette C7.R is great, the mechanics did a fantastic job and our pit stops were perfect. We are convinced that we now have all the ingredients for Le Mans. We also know which aspects we need to improve, so it was really useful to be in Italy to see where we are.”

Romain Brandela: “We have learnt a lot from Monza. The Corvette C7.R was competitive straight away and the car felt very good. We closely followed our programme and all went well. We have achieved our objectives and can confidently approach the Le Mans 24 Hours.”

Christian Philippon: “As Romain said, this weekend in Monza was a learning process. Heading into the weekend I did not know the Corvette C7.R, the circuit, or have any experience racing alongside prototypes. The performance for me wasn’t quite there ahead of the Le Mans 24 Hours, which I will race in for the first time. Nevertheless, I have already raced at the circuit before, with the Road to Le Mans event, which I will enter again this year. I am confident that my pace will be better on a track that I know.”

Jack Leconte, Team Manager: “It was a positive weekend in Monza for Larbre Competition. It was paramount that we prepared for the Le Mans 24 Hours and this has now been done.

“I underlined to the drivers that it was imperative to treat these three days as a ‘Le Mans rehearsal’, without focusing too much on the result. Both of the incidents reminded us of how difficult and challenging any endurance race can be.

“I am satisfied to see that there is already good chemistry between the drivers and all of the procedures have been undertaken. Everybody was aware of the importance of this weekend and put in all the hard work to follow our programme.”

source: Larbre Competition Press Office, polepressoffice.uk.com