Larbre Competition were competing for a fifth podium in seven rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship at the 6 Hours of Fuji (14-16 October), when a technical issue dropped the #50 Corvette C7.R down the order.
After a superb job by the mechanics, the Le Vigeant-based squad were able to return to the track and secure some valuable points, meaning they remain fourth overall in a LMGTE Am class as competitive as ever. Following their podium in Texas last month, the Larbre crew arrived at the Fuji Speedway with high ambitions, as the 4.563km circuit has been good to them in the past.
Between the two events, Larbre were pleased to confirm that official Corvette Racing USA driver Ricky Taylor will drive for Jack Leconte’s team until the end of the season. For his home race, Japan’s Yutaka Yamagishi was back in the cockpit, with Pierre Ragues completing the trio of drivers on board the #50 machine.
After solid free practice sessions at the foot of the famous Mount Fuji, Taylor and Yamagishi were at the wheel for qualifying and did a great job, securing third on the grid for the sole French GT team competing in FIA WEC, just a tenth off pole position. This confirmed the performance level of the team in what is a closely fought championship.
Taking the start once again, Taylor made good progress, moving up to second place at the end of the first lap. Remaining at the front of the race during his entire opening stint, the American handed over the car to Yamagishi for the second hour.
Following a good and clean stint by Yamagishi, Ragues was next to take over with the #50 Corvette C7.R running in fourth position at the time. The Frenchman made an immediate impression, pulling off a great overtaking manoeuvre to land the Larbre squad back inside the top three.
Following another error-free run from Yamagishi, the Frenchman was back behind the wheel for his own second stint and was maintaining the #50 car in the fight for a fifth podium. However, a transmission issue forced him to return into the pits less than 90 minutes before the end of the race.
After completing a temporary repair, the mechanics found a clever solution which worked and were rewarded for their efforts as the team managed to do the 14 more laps they needed in order to reach the 70 per cent overall distance of the event. Larbre were classified in sixth, meaning they secured eight important points for the championship.
Away from the track, everyone in the French squad remembered Ietoshi Kaneko, who passed away on 23 September. He was a great endurance expert from Japan, but also a long time friend of Jack Leconte and Larbre Competition.