Gerard Larousse

Birthday : 1940-05-23

Biography Gérard Larousse

Gérard Larrousse was born in Lyon France. His father was an industrial, active in textile industry. Obviously his parents wanted Larousse to follow their footsteps and join the family business. However Larousse had a different view on what life would bring for him. From his early childhood, he developed a huge interest in cars and autosport. During his studies in Paris, he had the opportunity to compete in his first motorsport event, at the age of 21. At the wheel of a Simca 1300S, a rear-engined vehicle, Larousse drove a rally.  Just a year later, Larousse switched to a Renault 1100 Delphine, another rear-engined car, and scored his first victory. 

In 1966 Larousse was driving for the Ceida NSU team. He managed to get a 2nd place in the French Rally Championship. The good results drew the attention of Alpine-Renault. From 1967 on, Larousse drove the Alpine. Larrousse took 8 wins in Alpine A110s of various capacities and again took the runner-up placing in the French Championship.

Larousse and Porsche

allye Monte Carlo 1969- Gérard Larrousse and Claude Perramond (co-driver) in a Porsche 911 S 2.0 Coupé – 2nd place overall. (C) Porsche

In 1968, Larousse left a huge impression to Peter Falk during the Monte-Carlo Rally. Vic Elford found a giant opponent in the frenchmen. Reason enough for Falk to offer Larousse a seat. Gerard Larousse joined the Porsche works team in 1969. The 1969 season started with the Monte Carlo Rally. In his first race, Gérard Larrousse came second behind Björn Waldegaard.

Gérard Larrousse’s 911 R at Tour de Corse, 1969 (C) Porsche

In the end, he not only won the Tour de Corse in the Porsche 911R that year. Larousse won the Rallye Neige de Glace and the Tour de France d’Automobile stage race too. Larousse finished 2ns at Le Mans and on the Monte Carlo Rally.  Together with Hans Herrmann, he lost the tightest finale of all time by 120 metres at Le Mans. Furthermore he scored a 3rd overall in a Porsche 908 at Zeltweg. 

1971: Nürburgring, 1,000 km race – Gérard Larrousse in the 908/03 Spyder, Vic Elford bends to his left. In the background: 2nd from left Hans Dieter Dechent, Hans Herrmann on his right, race mechanic Fritz Spingler on the far right, 3rd from right Peter Falk. (C) Porsche

In 1970, he was again placed second in the endurance classic in Sarthe, this time with Willi Kauhsen and behind Herrmann and Richard Attwood. In the same year, he came third in the Tour de France Automobile with the 911 S 2.4 “Tour de France” in the yellow and red hippie look. Larrousse enjoyed his greatest successes at the side of Vic Elford who became a long-time friend. In 1971, they won the 12 Hours of Sebring in a Porsche 917 as well as the 1,000 kilometre race at the Nürburgring in a Porsche 908/03 Spyder.

Le Mans victories

Larousse won the Le Mans 24H 2 times. Especially for a French guy, these victories have a special place in his heart. What makes the victories of 1973 and 1974 even more ‘french’ related, is that Gerard Larousse shared the wheel with his compatriot Henri Pescarolo, at the wheel of a french car: a Matra-Simca.

Gérard Larousse – JP Beltoise – François Cevert – Henri Pescarolo

After his active racing career as a pilot, he moved into racing management. Ultimately, Gerard Larrousse managed the original factory Renault Formula One team during its final days as a full fledged factory team in 1984/5 (the current Renault F1 team was created when the company purchased the Benetton Formula team in 2001). Gerard Larrousse also shared ownership of a Formula One team with various partners, and under various names, from 1987 to 1994.

Pictures courtesy Porsche AG and unknown