Jack Leconte targets Le Mans 24 Hours triumph Aston Martin Racing Larbre head into the Le Mans 24 Hours in buoyant mood after a successful test last week. The French team are now ready to challenge the works giants of Corvette and Saleen, as...
Jack Leconte targets Le Mans 24 Hours triumph
Aston Martin Racing Larbre head into the Le Mans 24 Hours in buoyant mood after a successful test last week. The French team are now ready to challenge the works giants of Corvette and Saleen, as well as their Aston Martin team mates from Prodrive, for honours in an ultra-competitive GT1 grid.
Larbre Competition, who have teamed up with Aston Martin Racing and will run cars 006 and 008 at Le Mans, ran without trouble and made significant developments, the rewards of which the team hopes to reap on June 17. Even better news came in the form of Christophe Bouchut's best lap time of 3m 51.822s, good enough for fifth fastest in class despite the fact his Aston Martin DBR9 wasn't fitted with the newer, softer tyres like most of his class rivals.
Team Principal Jack Leconte was delighted with the test and now has his sights firmly set on challenging for honours at the world's most famous motor race. "The test went very well for both cars. The new Michelin tyres were superb, we had no problems with our new air conditioning system and we ran the latest aero package on the 008 car thanks to our partnership with Aston Martin.
"008 saw a large improvement in performance and many times throughout the day the car was ahead of the works 007 and 009 Aston's on the time sheets, which was very encouraging. Our target with this car is simple, to fight for the GT1 class win".
Former Le Mans 24 Hours winner Christophe Bouchut was cautious about making predictions for the race, but agreed that the car had improved massively and had the potential to do well. "The car feels really good and I set a competitive time, even though we were running on old, hard rubber. I believe that, with new tyres, we will be in a position to challenge for the class pole at Le Mans in qualifying. It's hard to predict anything for the race, because it's all down to reliability, but from what I have seen of the car and my team mates, we should be in a position to fight for the honours."
Italian Fabrizio Gollin echoed his team-mate's thoughts about the car's improvement. "The car was excellent under braking and the general grip of the Michelins was superb. I have never used this tyre at Le Mans before, but the wear rate on the tyres was fantastic and I was still able to set fast laps deep into my long runs. There's lots of competition in GT1 this year and anything can happen at Le Mans, but I believe our car can win."
Multiple Danish Touring Car champion Casper Elgaard joins Larbre's Le Mans Series regulars Gollin and Bouchut for the 24-hours and was quickly on the pace. "There are lots of cars capable of challenging for the podium in the GT1 class at Le Mans and I think we are one of them. I didn't expect us to be where we are at this point -- I knew we could challenge the best -- but to be right on the pace already is fantastic. The car feels great and we already have a superb spirit amongst the team."
The 006 Car sees Larbre's Le Mans Series regular Gregor Fisken joined by experienced French racers Patrick Bornhauser and Roland Berville.
Jack Leconte revealed that the test day had been used to find the optimum set-up for the trio and give them time to learn the circuit at the wheel of the mighty DBR9. "The top priority for the 006 car was to give the drivers some seat time because it was the first time they have driven the Aston Martin at Le Mans. It was crucial that we provided them with a set-up which they felt comfortable with because they will be driving long stints in what is a very long race. At the end of the test all three drivers were delighted with the set-up and that was hugely satisfying for the team.
"006 will be involved in a very interesting battle at Le Mans. The likes of Lamborghini, Ferrari and the PSI Corvette should provide the competition and I'm sure the drivers will enjoy a really good fight in this area of the GT1 class."
Gregor Fisken has driven the second Larbre Competition Aston Martin DBR9 in the Le Mans Series so far this season and he felt the car suited the circuit perfectly. "It feels like the car is off the leash at last! The DBR9 felt totally at home at Le Mans and was fantastic all around the track. I feel humbled to be part of this whole experience. Jack Leconte and his team, along with Aston Martin Racing, have really gone to town at Le Mans and to see four works Aston Martin's lined up outside the pit garage is something very special. I just can't believe that I am part of it!"
Roland Berville revealed that the team had found a superb set-up and should be able to find more speed during practice and qualifying. "It was my first opportunity to drive the car at Le Mans and we have found a really good set-up which is crucial for such a long race. We have some time to find, but the test wasn't the place to push for a quick time and end up in the gravel! I think we will find those seconds quite easily. We all agree that the target is to finish the race and if you can do that then you never know what can happen."
Patrick Bornhauser was the quickest of the three 006 drivers at the test and is looking forward to the race where he believes the car will be even quicker. "We didn't run with the new air conditioning system and were therefore disadvantaged by the restrictor. However the A/C will be in place at Le Mans and with more laps under our belt we can all raise our game. Le Mans is such a special place and the Aston Martin truly is a fantastic car. If we finish the race with no problems then we can have a good result."