Larbre Competition Considering Options For 2014
An interesting post-season press release by Larbre Competition this evening has sparked rumours on the French squad’s plans for the 2014 season. After a difficult season with the Chevrolet Corvette C6.R Jack Leconte’s team is clearly looking at new machinery for next season, but no decision has been made.
The team finished fifth in the GTE Am class of the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship and the disappointing result, which the team has linked directly to the Balance of Performance regulations set by the FIA and ACO, has had a negative impact on the entire squad, as voiced by the drivers and Leconte.
Long-time Larbre Competition driver Patrick Bornhauser said: “Thanks to the Balance of Performance, we’ve had no pace since Le Mans. To invest so much money, then watch on as politics shakes everything up… this is not the way I see motor racing, and it could have an impact on my passion for the sport. We are a long way from the spirit of competition that I am looking for. I like properly disputed races, and on-track fights with fair play.”
Bornhauser’s teammate Julien Canal shared his opinion and was quoted saying “2013 has been a difficult year for our Corvette C6.R thanks to the new Balance of Performance, which is supposed to equalise all cars but penalised us too much.”
In the press release Larbre Competition team boss Leconte, who has been denied an entry to Le Mans by the ACO before, vented his frustration towards the FIA and ACO. Leconte finds it “very unfortunate that the joint technical department of the ACO and the FIA should remove a competitor from the title challenge in this way” and said the lack of response after Le Mans “damaged the drivers’ spirit”.
Whether or not Larbre Competition returns with a Corvette or even to the FIA WEC at all remains to be seen. “The management of a championship where manufacturers utilise full-time lobbying requires permanent attention and reactivity,” said Leconte. “The fact that our partner is based in the US, as well as our decision to enter only one car, has handicapped us in 2013. We will have to take this into account for the future, or consider our involvement altogether.”
Current FIA WEC regulations state that GTE Am entries must run one-year old cars and the new Corvette C7.R has not been competing yet, whilst the C6.R seems to be on a backfoot against the new Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, the Aston Martin Vantage and the Ferrari 458. The team might have to resort to a different manufacturer or a different series.
“Complications regarding the homologation of Corvette’s new C7.R mean we can’t yet confirm our 2014 plans, but we will go back to the team’s roots in order to create new challenges which we’ll announce as early as January,” said Leconte. It therefore remains open where we will see Larbre Competition in 2014 and with what manufacturer, having previously (successfully) worked with major car manufacturers like Porsche, Ferrari and Viper. All three have GTE cars and all three are eligible in GTE Am as well as series like International GT Open and the European Le Mans Series.
Marcel ten Caat