12th major title at Magny-Cours
French sportscar specialists Larbre Competition wrapped up their 12th major title with an impressive performance in the FFSA French GT Championship at Magny-Cours at the weekend.
Christophe Bouchut and Patrick Bornhauser stormed to a comfortable victory in race 1, enough to secure the title, Bornhauser’s third in the notoriously-tough championship and Bouchut’s first in GT racing on home soil, before celebrating with a podium finish in the weekend’s second race. The pair dominated the series this year aboard one of Larbre’s Saleen S7Rs, taking five race wins and five other podium finishes, whilst the team’s second car was also a race winner and ran strongly throughout the season.
Team Principal Jack Leconte was delighted with the success, made all the more special as 2008 is the first year that Larbre Competition have run the American-made Saleen muscle cars. “To have immediately been competitive in a car that was completely new to us is a very satisfying achievement for all the team. We won the first race at Nogaro and then never looked back, leading the championship all year long.
“We have now won major titles with Porsche 911s, Dodge Vipers, Ferrari 550 Maranellos, Aston Martin DBR9s and the Saleen S7R. All these cars have very different characteristics, which not only highlights the huge amount of talent we have in the team, but also our incredible adaptability. Many teams have success over a sustained period with the same marque, but we like to challenge ourselves a bit more.”
The FFSA GT Championship is recognised as one of, if not the strongest domestic GT series in the world, with the sporting regulations regarding success ballast, which can see cars carrying as much as 120kg, making it virtually impossible for one team to dominate. Despite this, Bornhauser and Bouchut took race wins at five of the seven circuits visited this year, with Frederic Makowiecki and Wilfried Merafina also taking a win at Val de Vienne in the other Larbre Saleen.
“Both cars performed well this year and our only regret is that we didn’t take first and second place in the championship,” said Leconte. “I think it would have been possible but the second car’s accident at the Spa 24 Hours put us on the back foot. This is a very difficult championship to win. The crippling success ballast means that the team and the drivers must be clever tactically to maximise their points score at each round. I feel that tactical acumen was one area where we had a big advantage this year.”