Franck Lagorce is a French racing driver who was active for thirty years, since the late 1980s, participating in various racing disciplines.
He recorded two starts in the 1994 Formula 1 World Championship, driving for Ligier. In sports car racing, Lagorce participated ten times at 24h Le Mans, finishing best fifth overall in 1998 and taking LMP1 class podium in 1996. In recent years, Lagorce participates in Trophee Andros ice racing championship, finishing in the second place in 2016.
French Formula 3 champion in 1992
Franck Lagorce was born in a southern suburb of Paris. He started a racing career with go-karts and then switched to bigger cars in 1987, entering the Formula Ford. His first success came in 1990, when he finished second in the French Formula Renault, losing a title to Emmanuel Collard.
The next step on the single-seater racing ladder was the 1991 French Formula 3 Championship. After finishing fourth in his debut F3 season, Lagorce became Formula 3 champion in 1992, driving a Dallara-Opel for Promatecme team.
In 1993, Lagorce progressed to the Formula 3000 International, driving for DAMS. He was the race winner two times, finishing fourth in the points. Next year, he moved to Apomatox team, repeating two victories and finishing as the championship runner-up, behind Jean-Christophe Boullion.
Franck Lagorce at 1994 Australian Grand Prix
Two Formula One starts with Ligier in 1994
The Formula 3000 was the last step on a way to Formula One. Franck was a test driver for Ligier and he gets a chance to race in the last two rounds of the 1994 Formula One Championship. Ligier driver Johnny Herbert moved to Benetton and Lagorce was his replacement in the #25 Ligier JS39B-Renault at Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit.
The start of the race was under torrential rain and Lagorce was one of the drivers who spun out by aquaplaning. In the next race, the Australian Grand Prix at the Adelaide Street Circuit, Lagorce finished eleventh, two laps behind the race winner Nigel Mansell. It was all of Lagorce's F1 career. In 1995, he returned to test duties for Ligier and then tested for Forti in 1996, but never get a chance to race again.
Le Mans debut in 1994, podium in 1996
The season 1994 was also a milestone year for Lagorce's sports car career because he made a debut at 24 hours of Le Mans. In June, he joined Henri Pescarolo and Alain Ferte in the #2 Courage C32LM. Alain Ferte was the fastest qualifier but they didn't finish the race, retiring after 142 laps due to a broken engine.
In 1995, Lagorce returned to Le Mans with Courage Competition, sharing the #11 Courage C41 with Henri Pescarolo and Eric Bernard. They retired after 26 laps. In 1996, the third attempt at Le Mans was successful. He, Henri Pescarolo and Emmanuel Collard were driving the #5 Elf Filiere Courage C36-Porsche. They finished seventh overall and second in the LMP1 class.
Young Franck Lagorce
Renault Spider Europe champion in 1996
In 1996, Lagorce was also successful in the Renault Spider one-make championship, winning the title with five victories and nine podiums.
From 1997, Lagorce completely ended his commitments in open-wheel racing, participating full season in the FIA GT Championship with DAMS. He was driving Panoz GTR-1 along with Eric Bernard as his co-driver, but without notable results. With that car, Lagorce also raced at Le Mans, retiring after 149 laps.
1998 - fifth place at Le Mans, podium at Spa 24h
For the 1998 Le Mans 24 Hours, Lagorce joined Tom Walkinshaw Racing and Nissan Motorsport to drive the #30 Nissan R390 GT1. His co-drivers were Michael Krumm and John Nielsen. They finished in the fifth place, what remained Lagorce's career-best overall result at Le Mans.
Later in the year, Lagorce participated in some FIA GT races for DAMS but also at 24 hours of Spa, where he was driving a Renault Megane for Renault Sport Belgium. Together with Kurt Mollekens and Pierre-Yves Corthals, he finished in the third place.
Five more Le Mans participations from 1999 to 2003
Lagorce recorded five more Le Mans 24h participations between 1999 and 2003. In 1999, he didn't finish the race in the #6 Mercedes-Benz CLR he was sharing with Bernd Schneider and Pedro Lamy. In 2000, he joined Team Cadillac to drive a Cadillac Northstar LMP together with Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace. They were 21st.
One more DNF followed in 2001 when Lagorce was driving a factory-entered Panoz LMP07-Elan, sharing a car with Jan Magnussen and David Brabham. The last two Le Mans attempts Lagorce had with Pescarolo Sport in 2002 and 2003, driving a Courage C60-Peugeot. Sebastien Bourdais and Jean-Christophe Boullion were his partners in both races. They were 10th in 2002 and 8th in 2003.
In 2016/2017 Andros Trophy season, Lagorce was driving Mazda
Successful Trophee Andros contestant
Lagorce's last full season in some sports car racing competitions was the 2001 American Le Mans Series with Panoz Motorsports. Since then, he raced occasionally in different competitions. In 2010, he entered the Electric division of the French-based Andros Trophy ice racing series.
In recent years, the Andros Trophy is his main occupation during the winters. His best result was second place in the Elite Pro standings in the season 2015/2016. He was driving Dacia Lodgy Glace for Sport Garage team, winning four times and losing a title to Jean-Baptiste Dubourg. In the 2016/2017 Andros Trophy season, Lagorce finished fifth, driving for Mazda France.