Pierre Ragues has begun his tenth season in endurance racing in style by topping the timesheets in the season opening Prologue test at Paul Ricard – in his debut in the LMGTE-Am class.
Pierre is joining the Larbre Competition team for an assault on this season’s FIA World Endurance Championship, driving the #50 Chevrolet Corvette C7. Although the team’s participation in the Prologue was cut short, the immediate pace of the car, the Michelin tyres and the driver line-up was clear.
The team took part only on the opening day of action as they were running an old engine, which reached the natural end of its life. The team’s batch of 2016 engines will be ready for the first race of the season – the Six Hours of Silverstone – next month.
Making the most of the eight hours of running that they had, Pierre and his team-mates Paolo Ruberti and Yukata Yamagishi completed a total of 96 laps, ending both sessions they contested as the leading LMGTE-Am car. They worked on car set-up and Michelin tyre evaluation, while Pierre used the opportunity to acclimatise to the brakes and also to dealing with the faster LMP cars on track.
Pierre himself was the quickest GTE-Am driver in the second timed session on Friday, which gives him a real sense of confidence heading into the opening round of the season.
I am very pleased with the work we were able to carry out in the Prologue. We achieved a lot in the two sessions. It was great to be part of the Larbre Competition team once again and to work alongside my teammates Paolo and Yukata. There were some important things to focus on during Friday’s sessions, from baseline set-up and tyre evaluation to more personal things for me like acclimatising to new brakes and coping with the LMP cars. It is all part of a learning process for me now racing a GT car but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was very special to see us be quickest in class and for me to achieve that on my debut gives us a lot of encouragement. Thanks to the team and my personal partners for a strong start – we must now put this learning into practice for the opening race at Silverstone next month. It can’t come soon enough!
Pierre Ragues Press Release
Photo: FIA WEC / Adrenal Media