Multiple champions Larbre Competition will return to the Le Mans Series with one of their GT1 Saleen S7Rs in 2009.
The French squad have been stalwarts of the LMS since its inception in 2004, where they won the inaugural GTS-class drivers’ and teams’ championships with a Ferrari 550 Maranello, and also took both GT1 titles in 2006 with an Aston Martin DBR9.
Last season Larbre competed in the opening round of the championship with their Saleen, taking a hard-fought class podium in the Barcelona 1000kms, before concentrating on dual campaigns in the FIA and French GT Championships, the latter of which saw the team take their 12th major GT title.
While the Val de Vienne-based squad will return to the French championship this year to defend their crown, they will also compete in the LMS and have applied for an entry for the Le Mans 24 Hours, where they will be competing for a 17th consecutive year. Last year at La Sarthe the team qualified second in GT1 on a grid dominated by works entries, while in 2007 they scored a pole position, ahead of both factory Aston Martins and Corvettes, before going on to take a fine podium finish.
While more details of both the French GT and Le Mans programmes, on confirmation of an invitation from the ACO, will be announced soon, the team have already completed their driver line-up for April’s first round of the Le Mans Series, the Barcelona 1000kms.
The team have named an all-French trio for the race in the form of Patrick Bornhauser and David Hallyday, who should be joined by Patrice Goueslard.
Bornhauser, a Larbre Competition regular, is the multiple and reigning French GT champion who has experience of both the LMS and Le Mans 24 Hours. He was part of Larbre’s driving strength at La Sarthe last year and also helped them to the podium in Barcelona. Hallyday, son of legendary French star Johnny and a well known singer/songwriter in his own right, is another experienced racer who competed with Larbre at Le Mans and in French GT last year. Goueslard is the reigning Le Mans Series GT1 champion and boasts 14 appearances at the Le Mans 24 Hours with a best finish of third-in-class during the 2006 race.
Larbre Competition Team Principal Jack Leconte said: “The team is delighted to be returning to the Le Mans Series. We are long-term supporters of the LMS and have enjoyed great success with them over the past few years. As well as defending our French GT crown and racing at the Le Mans 24 Hours we will have a very exciting sporting programme in 2009.”