Nicky Catsburg is unlikely to secure the drive in Larbre Competition’s Corvette C7.R for the 24 Hours of Le Mans despite having set the quickest time of the GTE-Am class in today’s official test day.
The Dutchman, who received a last-minute call-up to test with the French squad following Paolo Ruberti’s injury, admitted that his chances are slim, as the Jack Leconte-led team is looking for a driver with budget.
“It doesn’t look like it will be me,” Catsburg told Sportscar365. “I think the team really wants to and I want to but as you know in motorsports, it’s difficult as you need the budget to make it happen. I’m not sure if the team is able to make that happen.
“At the moment, I don’t think I’ll get the drive but anything can change and we still have a couple of days.”
Catsburg, along with Jean-Philippe Belloc both tested the car alongside full-season FIA World Endurance Championship drivers Pierre Ragues and Yutaka Yamagashi, just hours after the reigning 24 Hours of Spa winner and WTCC ace took part in the ACO simulator session, mandatory for all new drivers to Le Mans.
“I called the guys from the simulator 20 times and they finally said I could come [on Saturday] morning,” he said. “I did my couple of hours in the simulator and then I went to Le Mans.”
It marked his first laps of Le Mans, as well as his first experience in the Corvette C7.R, after previously racing the GT1-spec Corvette C6.R in the FIA GT1 World Championship and International GT Open.
Catsburg’s quick lap of 3:57.999 was nearly one-second clear of the competition in GTE-Am.
“When I jumped in it for the first time, I just immediately felt that this car is built for these long races,” Catsburg said. “Everything’s comfortable, the cockpit is well-designed and very nice. Immediately, you feel really home in the car.
“It was quite easy to get used to the car in that respect… It was really nice to get a chance to do some laps today. The [fact] that we were fastest was a big surprise to me because we didn’t really push to be fastest. It was nice.
“In the end, I’m already very thankful to Jack for letting me drive and giving me the opportunity to do my laps at Le Mans. Right now, I’m able to drive, so if there’s someone who [gets injured], then I’m the guy they can call.”