Gerard Larrousse

Gerard Larrousse

23/5/1940

Gérard Larrousse won the French Rally chanpionship with an Alpine A110 before turning to circuit racing. He participated in two Grands Prix. He won the Sebring 12 hour race and the Nürburgring 1000km in 1971 and Le Mans in 1973 and 1974. He then moved into racing management.

Larrousse was from Lyons, France, and studied business management at the Ecole Superieure de Commerce in Paris but his passion for rallying disrupted his studies as did his Military service during which, in an accident during a parachute jump, he broke both ankles.

He had a distinguished career in the early 1960s on the French national rallying scene in a Renault Dauphine, Alpine and Porsche cars. He then decided to concentrate on his competition career and became a professional racing driver in 1966 and by 1969 was hired by the Porsche factory sportscar team. He made the transition to circuit racing with ease, sharing the second-place Porsche with Herrmann at Le Mans in 1969. Over the next few seasons, Larrousse built up a fine reputation in endurance racing, winning the 1971 Sebring 12 Hours, sharing a 917 with Vic Elford, and the Nurburgring 1000 Km for Porsche as well as the Tour de France, driving a Matra MS660.

He was also a Ford factory driver in touring cars in 1972 and in 1973

He went on to join Matra in 1973 and 1974 during which time, partnered by Pescarolo, Gerard won Le Mans twice and added further victories at Vallelunga, Dijon, the Osterreichring, Watkins Glen, Imola and Kyalami. In 1974, he was also the European 2-litre champion in an Alpine-Renault and briefly sampled the ambience of Formula 1, but had a miserable time with the poorly prepared Bretscher Team Brabham BT42 in the Belgian Grand Prix at Nivelles.

At the end of the year Matra withdrew from racing and Larrousse moved to Alpine for 1975, sharing victory at Mugello with Jean-Pierre Jabouille. That year he established the Elf Switzerland Formula 2 team and with Jabouille driving won the European F2 Championship. Larrousse won the Jim Clark Trophy Formula 2 race at Hockenheim, driving one of his own cars.

At the end of 1976 he was appointed competition manager of the new Renault Sport, which was formed by a merger of Alpine and Renault-Gordini and he masterminded the company's entry into Formula 1 racing, overseeing the development of their Formula 1 turbo car, its victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours and victory on the Monte Carlo Rally.

At the end of the season he was appointed competitions manager at Renault, overseeing the development of their Formula 1 turbo car, and later moved to Ligier before establishing his own team, which competed on minimal budgets and was supported by a motley collection of sponsors from 1987 through to 1994, when the financial climate was such that Larrousse was finally forced to close its doors after a possible merger with French F3000 champions and Grand Prix aspirants DAMS came to nought.

Larrousse continued to run sportscar teams but without much success.

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