Gerard Larrousse

Full Name:
Gerard Gilles Marie Armand Larrousse
Born:
23rd May 1940 (Age 79)
Lyon, Rhone-Alpes
Nationality:
French
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Business studies student Gérard Larrousse only started rallying when 21 years old but he decided that motorsport was his future. He turned professional in 1966 and made his Le Mans debut a year later with an Alpine A210-Renault and Patrick Depailler as his co-driver.

Sports car success with Porsche

After two seasons with Automobiles Alpine, Larrousse joined the works Porsche concern in 1969. That year’s Le Mans 24 Hours was sensational as Larrousse’s co-driver Hans Herrmann chased Jacky Ickx’s Ford GT40 for the last two hours of the race. The Belgian held on to win by just 100 yards in the closest racing finish so far. Some consolation came with victory in the Tour de France Automobile that autumn when sharing a Porsche 911R with Maurice Gélin.

Second again in the following year’s Le Mans with Willi Kauhsen and a Porsche 917LH, Larrousse partnered Vic Elford to victories in the Sebring 12 Hours and Nürburgring 1000Kms during 1971 with a works 917 and 908/3 respectively. He also won the Tour de France Automobile again when now driving a Matra-Simca MS650.

Le Mans winner for Matra

A regular with Matra during 1973, he enjoyed his most successful season in the sport by winning five times as Henri Pescarolo’s regular co-driver. That included victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours as Matra won the 1973 World Championship of Makes. It was the same story in 1974 with Larrousse and Pescarolo repeating their Le Mans success and Matra world champions once more.

Now in his mid-thirties, Larrousse also entered two Grands Prix during 1974 with a Scuderia Finotto Brabham BT42-Ford – he retired in Belgium but did not qualify in France.

He returned to Alpine for 1975 and raced in both sports cars and Formula 2 – winning once in both disciplines. Sharing an Alpine A441-Renault with Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Larrousse scored his 12th and final victory in a World Sportscar Championship event at Mugello. Also Jabouille’s team-mate in F2, he won on his debut at Hockenheim with the elderly Alpine A367-BMW and challenged at Enna-Pergusa and Silverstone. Questionable engine reliability hindered further success.

Team management

Larrousse retired from racing at the end of 1975 to become Competition Director at Renault. He was responsible for its victories at Le Mans and in Monte Carlo Rally before overseeing development of its turbocharged Formula 1 engine. Alain Prost came within an ace of winning the 1983 World Championship but Larrousse left Renault a year later.

He worked at Ligier for a time before setting up his own team in partnership with Didier Calmels in 1987. Calmels was arrested for a crime of passion in 1989 and the team finally closed its doors in 1994 with Philippe Alliot’s fifth position in the 1993 San Marino GP its best result as a constructor.