Larbre Competition will return to international endurance racing next month when the French squad contests the Gulf 12 Hours in Abu Dhabi (11-13 December).
Though the race represents the Val de Vienne-based team’s first experience of the Yas Marina Grand Prix circuit, Larbre can count on a known quantity in the Porsche 991 Cup car, which they have campaigned throughout the 2014 season.
Taking place less than three weeks after the Formula One World Championship was decided in Lewis Hamilton’s favour at the venue, this year’s 12 Hours of Abu Dhabi will be the fourth running of the ultra-competitive endurance contest, which sees professional outfits competing in the GT3 category at one of the world’s most impressive motorsport facilities.
And Larbre are sure to feel right at home in such a distinguished setting having secured five class victories at the Le Mans 24 Hours, won the FIA World Endurance Championship LMGTE Am Trophy in 2012, and claimed a clutch of other top international racing honours.
Open to several classes of GT-spec machinery, as well as one-make cars such as the 991 Cup, the Gulf event employs a unique format. Beginning at 09:00, competitors will tackle an initial six hours of racing around the Yas Marina track before a three-hour break during which teams are permitted to work on their cars.
They will then resume with a rolling start to contest the deciding six hours, switching the focus from reliability to strategy and speed. The break also allows the 12 Hours to encompass both day and night racing under floodlights. Larbre will field a four-man crew in the Gentleman Cup class, all of whom have experience of high-level competition.Manuel Rodrigues already knows the team well having contested the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours aboard their Corvette C6.R, while Christian Philippon has experience of the 991 Cup from the Porsche Carrera Cup support race at this year’s 24 Hours. Denis Gibaud, who has spent this season in the Renault Clio Cup France, and Franck Labescat, who regularly partners Christian in GT Tour, complete the crew.
Jack Leconte, Team Manager: “We are delighted to be competing at Yas Marina for the very first time this year.With Larbre’s history of international competition, it is great to be adding another fantastic circuit and event to ourCV. We have assembled a team of experienced gentleman drivers and, with the support of the excellent Larbrecrew, I’m sure they can show strongly in the Gulf 12 Hours.
“We are very pleased to welcome our new partners B.R.M. Chronographes on board for this race and hope thatwe can give them a performance to remember. The Porsche Carrera Cup France organisers have also beeninstrumental in Larbre’s participation in Abu Dhabi, particularly by providing us with spares for the race. It will bean excellent chance for our drivers to sample the 991 Cup car in a competitive environment and perhaps join theseries next season.”
2014 Gulf 12 Hours schedule*
Thursday 11 DecemberFree Practice 1: 17:35 – 18:55
Friday 12 DecemberFree Practice 2: 09:15 – 10:25Free Practice 3: 12:25 – 13:35Qualifying (driver 1): 16:00 – 16:15Qualifying (driver 2): 16:30 – 16:45Qualifying (driver 3): 17:00 – 17:15Qualifying (driver 4): 17:30 – 17:45
Saturday 13 DecemberGulf 12 Hours Race 1: 09:00 – 15:00Gulf 12 Hours Race 2 “Night Lights”: 18:00 – 00:00
*All times are local. Difference between Abu Dhabi and the UK is +4 hours. For instance, when it’s 12:00 in YasMarina it’s 08:00 in London.