Larbre Competition‘s 2013 World Endurance Championship season almost ended in delight as the team’s Corvette C6.R narrowly missed out on a podium finish in Bahrain.
An electrical failure in qualifying led to the #50 Corvette having to start from the back of the grid, giving drivers Patrick Bornhauser, Julien Canal and Fernando Rees a tough task before the race had even begun. Despite the struggle, the trio ended the race in fourth, just 40 seconds off of third – a position they held with 60 minutes remaining.
The result meant that Larbre Competition ended the 2013 season in fifth place, finishing outside the top three for the first time since 1996. The team have linked their lack of success to the ACO and the FIA’s new Balance of Performance (BoP) regulations, meaning the Corvette had a major disadvantage in a straight line.
An adjustment to the BoP ahead of the Six Hours of Fuji brought some cheer to the French squad, but weather halted their chances as the event was red flagged due to severe rain. A pit-lane fire in China and the Bahrain electrical issue added to the team’s end of season woes and capped off a disappointing year.
“The final race of the season could not have come quickly enough” said a less than happy Bornhauser. “Thanks to the Balance of Performance, we’ve had no pace since Le Mans. To invest so much money, then watch on as politics shakes everything up… this is not the way I see motor racing,and it could have an impact on my passion for the sport. For two years we have supported the efforts of the organisers and this is the reward we get! It’s sad to say this, but the only good memories I will keep from 2013 are the times we spent in very comfortable hotels.”
“The management of a championship where manufacturers utilise full-time lobbying requires permanent attention and reactivity,” added Team Founder Jack Leconte. “The fact that our partner is based in the US, as well as our decision to enter only one car, has handicapped us in 2013. We will have to take this into account for the future, or consider our involvement altogether. Complications regarding the homologation of Corvette’s new C7.R mean we can’t yet confirm our 2014 plans, but we will go back to the team’s roots in order to create new challenges which we’ll announce as early as January.”