French Corvette Racing team Larbre Competition today announced its revised driver lineup and new livery for the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship Season. The GTE-Am squad also announced it will soon lay the groundwork for a 2017 entry into GTE-Pro, putting the new Ford GT directly in General Motors’ crosshairs in the international endurance racing series.
Larbre driver Paolo Ruberti will return to the team’s roster in 2016, but will be joined by Frenchman Pierre Ragues and Japan’s Yutaka Yamagishi. The pair replace Gianluca Roda and Kristian Poulsen in the No. 50 Corvette C7.R, which has a new livery for 2016 with Japanese cosmetics and food store Marukan Ginza serving as a main sponsor.
“On the drivers’ side, we’re delighted to welcome back Paolo Ruberti, who will continue to lead the crew,” said Larbre team owner Jack Leconte. “We’re equally thrilled to welcome French driver Pierre Ragues, especially considering his previous experience with us at the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours. Finally, Larbre’s international renown has allowed us to get in contact with Yutaka Yamagishi, who brings with him a wealth of experience in Japanese GT racing.”
Last year it was rumored Larbre would enter one car in the FIA WEC’s GTE-Am class and another in the GTE-Pro category for 2016, however the plans fell through after GM was unable to supply them with a 2016-spec C7.R in time. Leconte isn’t giving up on the idea, however, and believes the team missed out in not entering GTE-Pro this year.
“As well as playing the leading role in the LMGTE Am class, our drivers and team personnel will also be laying the foundations for a 2017 LMGTE Pro programme,” Leconte said. “Even with limited funding for LMGTE Pro, we’re sure that the Corvette’s reliability would’ve allowed us to beat Ford’s armada as early as this year. The recent Daytona 24 Hours proved this with a superb 1-2 finish for Corvette. I’m convinced that it’s a missed opportunity, but hopefully it’s only a matter of time!”
Larbre take to the track when the first race of the FIA WEC Season, the 6 Hours of Silverstone, kicks off on April 17th.