Larbre Competition could contest the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship with its Ligier JS P217 Gibson ahead of a planned effort in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, according to team principal Jack Leconte.
The French squad revealed plans Wednesday of entering Le Mans in LMP2 this year, subject to an entry from the ACO, alongside a two-car Ligier JS P3 Nissan effort in the Michelin Le Mans Cup.
Leconte has revealed the team is looking to have additional outings with the Ligier this year, with the WEC Six Hours of Spa being at the top of the list.
“We will make every effort to finalize the budget to run the Ligier in a race before Le Mans,” Leconte told Endurance-Info.
“We did it last year with the Corvette with the European Le Mans Series in Monza. Therefore, we aim to [run] the Six Hours of Spa in FIA WEC.”
So far, Fernando Rees is the only driver confirmed for the LMP2 effort.
Leconte said they evaluated a number of options for 2018, all tied around a return to Le Mans, for what would be the team’s 25th appearance in the race.
The prototype effort comes four years after Larbre fielded a Morgan LMP2 Judd in the race, for Ricky Taylor, Pierre Ragues and Keiko Ihara.
“We looked at various options,” Leconte said. “Jacques Nicolet thought of Larbre Competition for a LMP3 program and there is a real business sense for us to align a Ligier JS P217 in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“It was really logical to stay in the Onroak family.”
“Too Complicated” to Run Corvette in WEC
Leconte said efforts were made to return to the WEC full-time with its Corvette C7.R, including a proposed GTE-Pro program, although funding was again the roadblock.
“It was complicated to run in FIA WEC,” he said. “We missed several chances and there is really a lot of interest to run in GTE-Pro, given the chassis is at the end of its life.
“[But] Corvette Racing needs resources to develop its new GTE car. In addition, a commitment over two calendar years did not make [it easy].
“However, the Corvette has a good schedule this year although it is too early to talk about it.”
It’s believed Larbre is prepping its Corvette for a run in the 2018/19 Asian Le Mans Series, which plans to re-open its GT class for GTE-spec machinery next season.
A full-season campaign in the Asian series would fulfill the key requirement for the team obtaining its Le Mans invite.
Laurent Mercier contributed to this report