DRIVERS: GERARD LARROUSSE

Name: Gerard Larrousse
Nationality: France
Date of birth: May 23, 1940 - Lyon

Born as German tanks were rolling across the north of France in May 1940, Larrousse grew up in Lyon and in the early 1960s, while studying business management, he started rallying in a Renault Dauphine. There was a pause in his career when he had to do French military service and it was further delayed when he broke both ankles after a bad parachute landing.

It was not until 1966 that he was able to get his career going sufficiently to turn professional and in 1969 he was hired by the Porsche factory sportscar team. His major success with Porsche was victory in the 1971 Sebring 12 Hours, sharing a 917 with Vic Elford. That year he also won the Tour de France automobile, driving a Matra MS660. He was a Ford factory driver in touring cars in 1972 and in 1973 moved to Matra Sports to be one of the factory sportscar drivers. He won at Vallelunga, Dijon, Zeltweg and Watkins Glen to help Matra to win the World Championship but, most importantly, he shared victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours with Henri Pescarolo. That success was repeated in 1974

In 1974 he also made a brief entry into Formula 1 at the wheel of a Bretscher Team Brabham BT42 in the Belgian Grand Prix at Nivelles. It was his only Grand Prix start.

Larrousse moved to the Alpine sportscar team in1975, 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 Hockenheim Formula 2 race, 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. He masterminded the company's entry into Formula 1 racing, and its victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Monte Carlo Rally. The Renault Sport Formula 1 team won 15 Grands Prix but failed to win the World Championship and at the end of 1985 was closed down. Larrousse went to work with Ligier for a year and then set up his own Formula 1 team in partnership with Didier Calmels.

The Larrousse team organised a deal for chassis with Lola Cars and entered F1 in the normally-aspirated class in 1987 (turbo engines being the other class). The team achieved brief success with Lamborghini engines in 1990 but financial troubles were a constant problem and Larrousse had a string of unsuccessful partnerships in the early 1990s before the team was forced to give up F1 in 1995.

Since then Larrousse has run a number of other sportscar teams.

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