Larbre Competition Team posted their best finish of the season at the 6 Hours of Nurburgring over the weekend, taking fifth place after overcoming several significant obstacles throughout the endurance race.
The French Corvette team was immediately at a disadvantage Friday after missing the pre-race practice in late July. They had a good excuse, however, as Corvette Racing had borrowed their C7.R to race in two TUDOR United Sportscar Championship rounds after the American team wrecked one of their C7.Rs at Le Mans.
Having missed the pre-race practice, Larbre Competition was forced to find a race-worthy setup in the two free practice sessions just prior to Sunday’s race. Making things a bit harder was the adjusted Balance of Performance rules, which gave the C7.R a fuel tank with 5-liters more capacity but also fitted it with a fuel fill restrictor that had yet to be optimized, which resulted in the team losing 5 seconds every time they needed to refuel.
Despite these tribulations, Larbre’s C7.R was able to stay in podium contention for most of the race. The team started from sixth position in the GTE Am class and had worked their way up to fourth before their first scheduled pit stop. They stayed in that position until team driver Gianluca Roda incurred a 35-second penalty for speeding on pit road late in the race, resulting in a fifth place finish.
“It was a difficult weekend as we didn’t test at the Nürburgring in late July.” said Larbre driver Paolo Ruberti “This meant we had to find the right set-up during free practice. Nevertheless, our level of performance remained fairly close to our rivals. We tried our best during the race but the issue with the fuel system cost us several seconds each time we refuelled the car. We also had to serve the drive-through penalty, which left us an extra minute adrift of the leaders. In those circumstances it was pretty hard to fight for the podium.”
Larbre boss Jack Leconte is hoping that because the next round of the FIA WEC is at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, they will receive a little extra help from Corvette Racing, who will be on hand that weekend for the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship race.
“Our C7.R is well suited to all kinds of circuits but we could benefit from some extra help in Texas where Corvette will also enter sister cars in that weekend’s United SportsCar Championship round held at the same venue,” Leconte said.
“For our part, we need to do a bit of tidying up and stop making costly errors. That is the only way for us to get back into podium contention.”
Photo by Vision Sport Agency via Larbe Competition Team