Gerard Ducarouge RIP…

Posted: February 25, 2015 in F1
Tags: , , , ,

duca and friends

Lotus council of war…Peter Warr, Ayrton Senna and Gerard Ducarouge with Niki Lauda. The three men responsible for the recovery of Lotus competitveness in the Mid-80’s…

I read with sadness of the death of French design great Gerard Ducarouge on 24 February at 73 years old.

At the weekend I drafted this introduction to an unpublished piece on Adrian Newey…It’s been interesting to learn about and admire the careers of the sports outstanding engineer/designers before my time and since i became interested in motor racing enjoy the efforts of the design stars of the day and wait in eager anticipation of their next creations.

It’s the ones who have enjoyed enduring success I have always been most drawn to. Janos’ and Chapmans’ contributions over 30 years truly amazing.

Dr Porsche, Vittorio Jano and Jim Hall predate my period of interest but Colin Chapman, Mauro Forghieri, Gerard Ducarouge, Gordon Murray, John Barnard and Adrian Newey i have followed since 1972.

Ducarouge obtained a Degree in Aeronautics and commenced his career with Nord Aviation and soon moved to Matra where he worked his way up through the ranks and was responsible for the fabulous 1969 F1 Championship winning Matra MS80 Ford, Jackie Stewart winning the drivers championship and Matra the manufacturers.

ms80

Ducarouges’ 1969 championship winning Matra MS80 Ford. Aluminium monocoque, front suspension upper and lower wishbones with coil spring/damper units. Rear single top link, parallel lower links, twin radius rods and coil spring/damper units. Ford Cosworth DFV V8, circa 435 bhp, Hewland FG400 gearbox. (Unattributed)

He was also responsible for the equally fabulous Matra MS670 championship winning sportscars before moving to Ligier, also Matra powered, when they entered F1 in 1976.

He was dropped by Ligier in 1981 after the success of the ground effects JS11 in 1979 and 1980, moved to Alfa and then Lotus where, together with Peter Warr (team manager) and Ayrton Senna turned around the fortunes of one of the great marques which had floundered since Colin Chapmans death in 1982. The Lotus 95T Renault was very competitive in Mansell and DeAngelis’ hands in 1984 and provided a base for the 97T which followed, a winner in Sennas’ hands in 1985.

He later worked with Larrousse and returned to Ligier in 1991, leaving in 1994 to return to his roots at Matra as International Development Director.

This is not a detailed account of a great career, rather a short piece to recognise the passing of a great man and an innovative and intuitive designer

lotus 95t

Lotus 95T Renault. Ducarouge ’84 design, carbon fibre chassis, wishbones and pull rod suspension front and rear with coil springs. Renault EF4 V6 DOHC twin turbo 1.5 litre, circa 800bhp. Lotus/Hewland ‘box. 1190Lb. (Tony Matthews)

Credits…

Tony Matthews

 

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Comments
  1. Whitemule says:

    Another great that leaves us.
    DEP

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