Posts Tagged ‘Matra MS80 Ford’

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Jackie Stewart jumps his Ken Tyrrell ‘Equipe Matra International’ MS80 Ford during the German Grand Prix on August 3 1969…

In a marvellous GP season Jackie triumphed over friends and rivals Jochen Rindt, Lotus 49, Jacky Ickx and Piers Courages’s Brabham BT26’s, the Kiwi McLaren twins Hulme and McLaren and Chris Amons fast but unreliable Ferrari.

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Jean-Pierre Jaussaud with his Matra MS2 Ford prior to the start of the Zandvoort Trophy, 29 August 1965 DNF. Kurt Ahrens won the race in a Brabham BT16 Ford (Revs Institute)

Matra had raced in the the ‘junior’ F3 and F2 formulae as well as in endurance racing since 1965. From the very start the single-seaters used sophisticated monocoque chassis with technology borrowed from Matra’s aerospace arm in having its fuel contained directly in box section pontoons which were sealed with a polymer resin.

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MS80 tub being assembled at Velizy in early 1969. Note the lateral bulkheads referred to in the text, immensely strong, it looks heavy but wasn’t (Ludvigsen)

The competition used bag tanks, the advantage of the Matra approach was that that each pontoon had lateral bulkheads greatly improving both the strength and torsional rigidity of the tubs. Results weren’t initially great but soon the French crowd had blue coloured cars to cheer, Jean Pierre Beltoise taking a notable first win at Reims.

Jabby Crombac, the famed French racing journalist introduced Matra boss Jean Luc Lagardere to Ken Tyrrell. After Jackie Stewart test drove a modified F3 Matra fitted with a 1 litre BRM F2 engine and was blown away with its traction, he raced the cars in 1966, the year Jack Brabham swept the board in F2 with his  Honda powered cars.

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Jacky Ickx racing his Tyrrell Matra MS7 Ford F2 car during the 1967 German GP, DNF with suspension failure. Denny Hulme won the race in a Brabham BT24 Repco (unattributed)

For 1967, the new 1.6 litre F2 formula commenced. Matra Ford FVA powered cars won many races driven by Stewart, Jacky Ickx in the other Tyrrell entered car and the works Matras driven by JPB, Henri Pescarolo and ‘Johnny’ Servoz Gavin. Ickx won the title driving both MS5 and the later MS7 chassis.

Matra’s Grand Prix program was the result of a happy confluence of events… Race success meant it was ready and keen to step up and in reality it could afford to do so from its own group resources. The French government had just created a state owned oil company ‘Essence et Lubrificants Francaise’ or ELF. The marketing decision was taken that motor racing sponsorship and success would be the best way to promote the company rather than traditional mass media advertising. Further, the French Government, aware of Matra’s success to date saw GP racing success via Matra as a means of restoring French national prestige.

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The Beltoise/Pescarolo Matra MS630 prior to the 1967 1000Km of Paris at Montlhery DNF, race won by the Ickx/Hawkins Mirage M1 Ford (unattributed)

And so Elf agreed to support Matra (and an amazingly successful driver support program over the decades to come), the government kicked in about £800,000. Doug Nye wryly noted that the nominated engineer, former Simca technician Georges Martin saw a racing car for the first time at that years 1967 London Racing Car Show! He proved to be a fast learner mind you!

Over at Ockham in Surrey Ken Tyrrell was evolving his own Grand Prix Racing plans which in essence evolved around several factors. His own team infrastructure, based at his timber yard were ‘up for it’ having raced successfully in the junior classes for over a decade. Jackie Stewart had tired of BRM with whom he entered F1 in 1965, but ’65 was his best season, the teams H16 was uncompetitive despite every effort to squeeze pace and reliability from the spectacular, ambitious, heavy beast. Stewart himself had absolute confidence in Ken and his team and was looking for a new ’68 drive.

Walter Hayes confirmed to Ken that Cosworth would sell Ford DFV’s engines to him for the ’68 season, Colin Chapmans exclusivity agreement being broken by Hayes with Colin’s reluctant agreement.

Matra agreed to sell Ken a variant of their V12 chassis designed around the DFV’s compact dimensions. This was an incredibly smart decision by Matra and perhaps the government, a lot of expectation had been created around the Matra V12 program in the media, to the extent the V12 took a while to be competitive, and it did, another car with a proven engine/driver would help ease the pressure. Finally Ken secured Dunlop and Matra support to fund his ambitious program, and so was created a combination which won the World Drivers and Manufacturers titles within 2 years.

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JPB in the V12 Matra MS11 at Spa in 1968. He was 8th in the race won by Bruce McLaren’s McLaren M7A Ford, Stewart was 4th in an MS10 Ford (Heritage Images)

Matra’s first F1 cars were the Ford powered MS9 and 10 raced by Stewart in 1968, from Monaco the Velizy outfit entered the MS11 powered by their own 3 litre V12. The evolution of these V12 F1 cars I wrote about a while back, click on this link here to read about them, the focus of this article is the Ford engined cars;

https://primotipo.com/2014/07/06/venetia-day-and-the-1970-matra-ms120/

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Jackie Stewart during the 1968 South African GP in the MS9 Matra prior to its Ford Cosworth conrod failure, Jim Clark won his final GP in a Lotus 49 Ford , 1 January (unattributed)

The prototype of the 1968 MS9 was a modified ’67 F2 MS7 chassis to which a DFV was bolted directly to the monocoques rear bulkhead. The difference between this prototype and the MS9 was that the latter car had a lightweight frame extending from the monocoques rear bulkhead to a fabricated suspension pickup diaphragm fitting around the gearbox.

The structure wasn’t designed to take suspension loads but rather to keep the suspension settings in place when engine changes were effected. Chassis designer Bernard Boyers’s approach was practical, in the case of the Lotus 49 and all of its ‘copyists’ the car had to be wheel aligned and brakes bled after a ‘Cossie engine change.

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JPB in his MS10 during his guest drive at the ’68 Spanish GP. Note the MS 10 monocoque and bulkhead above his knees, DFV and brakelines atop the top radius rods (unattributed)

 

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JPB guesting for the injured Stewart at the 1968 Spanish GP, he qualified and raced 5th, the race won by Hill’s Lotus 49 Ford (unattributed)

The cars monocoque was as described earlier, rocker arm top and lower wishbone suspension with coil spring/damper units were used at the front and single top link, inverted lower wishbone, twin radius rods and coil spring shocks again at the rear. In short all ‘period typical’. Uprights and hubs were donated by the MS630 endurance racer, the gearbox the robust Hewland DG300 5 speed transaxle.

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JYS on the way to winning the ‘International Gold Cup’ at Oulton Park on 17 August 1968, Chris Amon was 2nd in his Ferrari 312 and Jack Oliver 3rd in his works Lotus 49B Ford (unattributed)

This hybrid was tested and raced in South Africa, JYS popped it on the front row and lead Clark before it’s DFV swallowed a valve. The car, short of tankage given it’s F2 derivation, would have needed a quick stop prior to the races conclusion.

The definitive 1969 MS10 had an extra fuel cell between the driver and engine made its debut in the Brands ‘Race of Champions’. Whilst fast the cars issues were around the weight of its endurance derived suspension and wheel hardware which affected the cars sprung/unsprung ratio. There were then some problems of durability in lightened components. Stewart lost the Spa lead when the fuel pumps didn’t pick up the ELF he needed to complete the race.

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Front row of the French GP at Rouen on 7 July 1968. The nose of Jochen Rindt’s Brabham BT26 Repco, the much maligned ‘860 Series’ Repco V8 was fast whilst it held together DNF, with JYS in the middle in his MS10 Matra 3rd and victor Jacky Ickx, Ferrari 312 (Schlegelmilch)

A lighter FG400 Hewland box was fitted at Rouen but the car, despite its aerospace parent was behind in the evolution of wings realtive to some other teams.

But at the Nurburgring in streaming wet conditions it all came together; Stewart’s wrist damaged in an F2 Matra at Jarama was ok, the midships mounted wing worked as did the Dunlop wets and Jackie drove superbly taking Matra’s first GP win.

Stewart won again at Oulton Park and at Watkins Glen and was in with a title shot in Mexico, tank sealing polymer detached and jammed his DFV’s fuel pump with Graham Hill taking the ’68 drivers, and Lotus the manufacturers championship. By any objective assessment 1968 was an amazing season for GP ‘newbees’ Tyrrell and Matra, the experienced Stewart delivering in spades.

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JPB in the 4WD Matra MS84 trailing Jo Sifferts Lotus 49B, both Ford DFV powered thru the fields on Northhamptonshire during the ’69 British GP at Silverstone (Schlegelmilch)

For 1969 some insightful decisions were taken by Matra with a view to winning the title…

They redesigned the V12, the new ‘MS12’ appeared in the MS120 chassis in 1970. Whilst the V12’s were raced in their ’69 endurance program they were withdrawn from F1, the focus of the ’69 program the Ford powered cars.

Tyrrell would therefore race 2 cars in ’69 driven by JYS and JPB, the conventional rear drive MS80, a new car designed by Bernard Boyer. In addition an ‘MS84’ Cosworth powered Matra 4WD using the British Ferguson transmission was designed and built. Stewart wanted the cars available for wet races of which there were several in 1968. It’s a story for another time but the belief at the time was that the tyres of the day even with the growing downforce provided by wings would not provide sufficient grip/traction given the potency of the 3 litre engines and in particular the punch of the DFV. 4WD was being used successfully at Indy at the time, whilst duly noting the particular nature of that circuit. The Ferguson GP car and its system is described in this article;

https://primotipo.com/2015/01/30/ferguson-p99-climax-graham-hill-australian-grand-prix-1963/

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Matra MS80…

Boyers’s starting point for his new car were the deficiencies of the MS10.  These were its mid-ship fuel tank which was inadequately stressed compromising the chassis’ overall stiffness. There was too much front suspension camber change for tyres growing in width, this resulted in lots of understeer and instability under braking. The inboard front suspension mount caused the shocks to overheat and finally at the rear inadequate toe control caused toe steer as the wheel prescribed its arc as the suspension moved up and down.

Boyer applied the same monocoque fuel tank construction system even though it would be outlawed by mandated bag tanks from 1970. His ‘one season’ car had its tanks ‘Coke Bottle’ style in bellied tanks getting the fuel load around the cars centre of gravity. The fuel tanks were baffled by the addition of polyurethane foam. The tub was a ‘full monocoque’ in that the scuttle was fully stressed (not open like the MS10) , the oil tank was moved from its MS9/10 forward mounting to a spot between the drivers shoulders and the DFV.

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Ken Tyrrell’s team fettle one of the MS80’s during the Italian GP weekend in ’69. Hewland FG ‘box, note the twin parallel lower links mentioned in the text, single top link and coil spring/damper complete the rear suspension package (Schlegelmilch)

Front suspension went to conventional if slightly less aerodynamic upper and lower wishbones rather than the top rocker deployed in 1968. The suspension geometry was and always is determined by the needs of the tyres. The Dunlops for 1969 were 13/15 inches in diameter front/rear. Parallel lower links first used by LenTerry/BRM were used at the rear to get better toe control, brakes at the rear were mounted inboard next to the Hewland FG ‘box reducing unsprung weight.

In terms of the cars aero, and their would be much change in 1969, broad front wings either side of the nose would trim the front/rear balance of a tall strut upright mounted rear wing. The DFV at the time developed about 430bhp @ 9500rpm, when first tested at Montlhery the car weighed 535Kg, 15 less than the MS10.

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1969 GP Season depth…Ickx Brabham BT26A 1st with Stewart 2nd and Rindt DNF in Matra MS80 and Lotus 49B and Denny Hulme’s papaya yellow McLaren M7A DNF, all of those cars Ford Cosworth DFV powered (unattributed)

The most competitive packages of 1969 were Stewart’s Matra MS80 Ford and the similarly powered Brabham BT26 of Jacky Ickx and the Rindt/Hill Lotus 49 twins, especially Jochen…

Rindt left Brabham after a year of BT26 speed and Repco ‘860 Series’ quad cam V8 unreliability. Ickx won 2 1969 GP’s (Germany and Canada) with the mildly updated, but Cosworth powered BT26, a car in which Jochen may well have taken the ’69 title had he stayed. Not that his Lotus 49 lacked speed, he finally won his first GP late in the season at Watkins Glen but the prodigiously fast Austrian wasn’t easy on a car and it’s preparation let him down. The surprise of the season was Piers Courage’ speed in the year old, and converted from Repco power ex-works BT26, the BT34 ‘Lobster Claw’ wasn’t a great design but Ron Tauranac never built an F1 dud?! Don’t mention the Trojan I guess!

The McLaren M7A’s were quick all year. Bruce had reliability and consistency, Denny had speed and DNF’s, a bad run of reliability. Bruce took the Can Am drivers title in ’69 in the M8B Chev and Denny won the season ending Mexican GP, which was some sort of reward for the M7, a typically simple, beautifully engineered McLaren.

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Stewart on the way to MS80 victory on the majestic Clermont Ferrand road circuit during the ’69 French GP (unattributed)

The ‘other Kiwi’, Chris Amon was consistently top 5’ish on Saturday despite the Ferrari V12 giving away considerable power and torque to the ubiquitous DFV, but the car was way too unreliable to allow a sustained attack on a race let alone the title. He ‘chucked’ Ferrari around the time of Monza after one engine breakage too many. The new Flat-12 failed, again, behind him at Modena, a decision to leave Maranello (in F1, he still drove the factory 512S sporty in 1970) he forever rued as that engine quickly became a GP great of the seventies.

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Chris Amon and JYS from the ’69 Monaco front row. It was a tough year for Chris and Ferrari, both had pace but the Fazz was hopelessly unreliable. Amon and Stewart both DNF at Monaco, the race won by Hill’s Lotus 49B Ford (Schlegelmilch)

The conclusion to be drawn from the foregoing is that 1969 was a season of great depth, there were plenty of car/driver combinations who were contenders for the ‘69 crowns as the teams set off from Europe for Kyalami at the seasons outset…

The MS80 was tested at Montlhery but didn’t do too many miles so Tyrrell elected to race MS10 to a win in South Africa in Stewart’s hands.

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Jackie Stewart leading the ’69 Spanish GP at fabulous Montjuic Park, Barcelona. MS80 racing a full GP with high wings for the last time, wings banned over the Monaco ’69 weekend (unattributed)

Another victory followed for the MS80 upon its race debut in the ‘Brands Hatch International’ and a championship win at Montjuic Park, Barcelona in the Spanish Grand Prix. This is the famous race in which both Lotus 49 rear wings failed precipitating an instant ‘high wing’ ban by the FIA mid way through the following Monaco GP weekend. Click on this link for an article about those events;

https://primotipo.com/2015/07/12/wings-clipped-lotus-49-monaco-grand-prix-1969/

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JYS and Ken Tyrrell at Monaco 1969, MS80 (Getty)

Hill won at Monaco for the final time, both MS80’s retired on the same lap when cracked gearbox universal joints, discovered pre-race failed during the tough on transmissions event.

Jackie won at Zandvoort, the cars evolved aerodynamically with neat wing-cum-engine covers and JPB reinforced his speed in a front running car by running 2nd to JYS in a glorious win for Matra at Clermont Ferrand, a sensational road course.

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Stewart in his MS80 1st, Rindt DNF in helmet beside his Lotus 49B Ford with champion Graham Hill’s 7th similar car behind in the Zandvoort pitlane in June 1969 (Heritage)

Jackie then won the British GP at Silverstone after a titanic dice with Jochen and after overcoming a practice crash caused by a bit of loose kerbing puncturing a front Dunlop. Dunlop, Firestone and Goodyear were involved in a war for F1 supremacy at the time, Ickx’ superior Goodyear G20’s a big part of his Nurburgring success.

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JYS prior to the ’69 German GP 2nd, MS80 (Schlegelmilch)

At Monza Ken Tyrrell counselled JYS to fit an ultra tall 2nd gear to avoid an extra change on the last lap run to the line of a typical Italian slipstreaming battle; in the event that made the difference, JYS narrowly pipping Rindt’s Lotus to take the race and the ’69 titles. The Mosport, Watkins Glen and Mexico City races went to Ickx, Rindt and Hulme.

And so ended the race career of MS80 but not before Ken Tyrrell gave ‘it one last shake’…

Matra’s lack of sales success with its Type 530 road car was largely due to lack of a decent dealer network. Whilst powered by a Ford V4, Lagardere’s attempts to sell the car via Fords network fell on deaf ears. Undeterred, Matra designed a new car powered by a Simca engine, such car would be sold through its dealers but only on the basis that Matra end it’s relationship with Ford in F1 terms. A modified for 1970 MS80 was out despite Tyrrells overtures.

Upon Lagardere’s insistence JYS tested his MS80 DFV against the new for 1970 MS120 V12 at Albi but the canny Scot was convinced the DFV was still the engine to have. And so a series of events unfolded which saw JYS race Tyrrell run March 701 DFV’s until Derek Gardner’s MS80-esque Tyrrell 001 appeared in August 1970, cars which yielded drivers and constructors titles in 1971 and 1973.

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JPB Matra MS120 at the Osterreichring in 1970 6th (unattributed)

Mind you JYS in a Matra MS120 is a tantalising 1970 thought!

JPB and Henri Pescarolo raced the MS120 that year, both worthy drivers, JPB a GP winner but that car was definitely a race winner in the little Scots hands in 1970. As it was Matra didn’t win another GP, albeit the V12 did win a race or two in Ligiers some years later, an updated MS80 in 1970 for sure would have given Rindt, Brabham and Ickx a run for their money.

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JYS at Monaco in 1969, MS80, no wings, this shot during the race (unattributed)

 

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The dominant equipe of 1969, Tyrrell’s Matra International at Silverstone with Beltoise’ MS80 and MS84 4WD (Patrick Jarnoux)

Etcetera…

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(Matra)

 

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JPB heads into Druids Hill at Brands during the ’68 British GP, Matra MS11 V12 (unattributed)

 

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Stewart at Zandvoort 1968. A win in his MS10 Ford from JPB’s MS11 which was over a minute and a half behind (unattributed)

 

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Stewart on his way to a marvellous Nurburgring victory in 1968, Matra MS10 Ford (unattributed)

 

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JPB in the Monaco pits during 1969. Its early in the weekend, his MS80 still has its wings (unattributed)

 

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Stewart at Clermont in 1969, compare and contrast the MS80 neat engine cover come rear wing with the high strut mounted wings of the early season, a quintessential Matra MS80 shot . JYS won from JPB, a second in arrears of his team-leader (unattributed)

References and Photo Credits…

Doug Nye ‘History of The Grand Prix Car’, ‘Matra MS80’ in Profile Publications, oldracingcars.com- always a primary reference source for me, checkout Allen Brown’s pieces on all of the F1 Matras; https://www.oldracingcars.com/f1/matra/

Rainer Schlegelmilch, Getty Images, Patrick Jarnoux, Karl Ludvigsen

Tailpiece: JYS enters the Nurburgring circuit from the paddock, 3 August 1969, MS80 Ford…

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(unattributed)

Finito…

 

 

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(Brian Watson)

Graham Hill having a squirt of  Jack’s Brabham BT26A Ford in British GP practice, Silverstone July 1969…

GH in a Brabham is not such a big deal; he raced F2 Brabhams with success for years as well as Tasman Formula ‘Intercontinental’ Brabhams in the mid-sixties. Later he was the pilot of Ron Tauranac’s intriguing ‘Lobster Claw’ BT34 in 1971 but he was a Lotus F1 driver in 1969, so ’twas a bit unusual  to practice an opponents car.

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Hill’s red Brabham BT11 Climax from Clark’s Lotus 32B and Aussie Lex Davison Brabham BT4, all Climax 2.5 FPF powered on the way to an NZGP win for Graham. Pukekohe, 9 January 1965. Hill also raced an earlier BT7A in the ’66 Tasman for David McKay’s Scuderia Veloce, the entrant of the car shown, he was familiar with Brabham ‘GP’ cars long before 1969! (unattributed)

Jack was still recovering from a testing accident at Silverstone in June when a Goodyear popped off a front rim, his car ploughed into an earth bank, his ‘equal worst accident’ with the Portuguese Grand Prix one in 1959. He lay trapped in the car with a badly broken ankle, Cossie V8 screaming at maximum revs until he punched the ignition cutout and extinguishers to minimise the chance of the pool of fuel in which he lay igniting. Eventually a touring car also on the quiet circuit mid week stopped and raised the alarm.

Jacky Ickx driving the other Brabham was late for Silverstone’s first session, all timed for grid positions in those days, so Tauranac had 2 cars idle.

Graham and teammate Jochen Rindt were peeved with Colin Chapman, to say the least, as the Lotus transporter was not in the paddock when the session got underway. Graham was ‘ready to rock’ all suited up but had no car to do so and was more than happy to put in a few laps for Tauranac. Rindt remained in his ‘civvies’ and fumed as the rest of the field practiced.

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Ron Tauranac giving Hill a few tips on his very quick, twice a GP winner in ’69, BT26. ‘Just don’t over rev the thing for chrissakes Graham, Jack will kill me if you do…’ Is that Ron Dennis at right? (unattributed)

1969 was the year of 4WD experimentation for Matra, McLaren, Lotus and Cosworth. Ultimately, very quickly in fact, 4WD was determined an F1 blind alley; the traction the engineers sought was more cost effectively provided by advances in tyre technology, Goodyear, Firestone and Dunlop were all slugging it out in F1 at the time, none of ‘yer control formula’ bullshit then. The effectiveness of the ‘low wings’ mandated from the ’69 Monaco GP also played its part in getting grip.

Chapman’s issue was pursuading his pilots to treat the Lotus 63 Ford, his 4WD design seriously, to test it with a view to developing it rather than to humor him. 4WD was successful at Indy; Chapmans ’68 Indy Lotus 56 ‘wedge’ was 4WD and came within an ace of winning the race, so was the ’69 Lotus 64, ignoring the misfortune surrounding both of these cars.

It was a challenge to get Rindt into the thing at all but he did finish 2nd in the August 1969 Oulton Park Gold Cup. The result meant nothing though, in front of him was Ickx’ Brabham BT26A but all the cars behind were F5000 and F2 cars not GP machines. Still, it was useful testing for Chapman if not for Rindt, his 4WD view was formed!

Chapman’s solution to his drivers recalcitrance was to sell 2 of his Lotus 49’s, one each to Jo Bonnier and Pete Lovely, leaving only one 49 in Team Lotus’ possession! A car you don’t have is a car you cannot drive. Said drivers were not best pleased.

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Hill, Lotus 63 Ford 4WD, British GP practice, Silverstone July 1969. ‘Turn in bitch!’, understeer and the inability of these cars to respond to delicate throttle inputs plus excessive weight were the main performance deficiency issues. As well as the absence of the electronic trickery which helped make 4WD work into the 80’s (Brian Watson)

When the showdown with Chapman occurred and the speed, or lack thereof, of the 63 was clear Col borrowed back the car he sold to Bonnier, GH raced that 49 and JoBo the 63. Chapman rescinded the contract with Lovely.

The ever restless Lotus chief didn’t give up on 4WD in Fl, the gas turbine powered Lotus 56 campaigned in some 1971 events had its moments and potentially a great day in the wet at Zandvoort until Dave Walker ‘beached it’.

The 49 raced on into 1970 and in ‘C’ spec famously won the Monaco GP in Rindt’s hands before the Lotus 72, Chapman’s new 2WD sensation, which made its debut at Jarama was competitive.

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Hill races his Lotus 49B to 7th place. Silverstone 1969 GP (unattributed)

At Silverstone Hill raced the 49B to 7th having qualified 12th and Bonnier retired the slow 63 with a popped engine. John Miles making his F1 debut raced the other Lotus 63 to 9th, the young, talented Lotus engineer stroked the car home from grid 14.

Stewart won a thrilling high speed dice on the former airfield with Rindt, only ruined when Jochen’s wing endplate chafed a rear Firestone, some say it was the greatest British GP ever, on the way to his world title in a Matra MS80 Ford.

It would be interesting to know Graham’s opinion of the Brabham BT26 compared to his 49, the competitiveness of which, especially in Rindt’s hands not at all in doubt despite the 49’s middle age, it was a little over 2 years old in 1969.

I am a huge Graham Hill fan, he was well past his F1 best by the time i became interested in motor racing in 1972 but he was still quick enough to take F2 and Le Mans wins then, he was my kinda bloke, sportsman and champion. A statesman for his sport and country.

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Jochen and Jackie scrapping for the ’69 British GP lead, Jochen’s Lotus 49B with bulk, uncharacteristic understeer. Look closely and you can see the closeness of his LR wing endplate to Firestone tyre, the cause of a pitstop to rectify and then back into the fray only to run outta fuel, the 49 notorious for its incapacity to sometimes scavenge the last few gallons from its tanks. Stewart Matra MS80 Ford (unattributed)

1969 was as tough a year for Hill as 1968 was great.

Jim Clark’s April 1968 death impacted Hill deeply on a personal level, they had been friends for years and Lotus teammates since the ’67 Tasman Series. Colin Chapman and Clark were like brothers and whilst Colin struggled with his grief, Hill in a tour de force of character and leadership marshalled Team Lotus by their bootstraps and refocused them on the year ahead. The result, World Titles for Hill and Lotus by the seasons end.

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Clark and Hill beside Graham’s Lotus 48 Ford FVA F2 car prior to the start of the Australian Grand Prix, Warwick Farm, 1967. Car behind is Kevin Bartlett’s Brabham BT11 Climax. Clark was 2nd in Lotus 33 Climax FWMV 2 litre, GH DNF with a gearbox failure. JYS won in BRM P261 2.1 litre (History of The AGP)

The Tasman Series in early 1969 showed just how tough a year Graham was going to have within Lotus. Rindt joined them from Brabham and whilst enjoying it, he had committed to Jack verbally to return to Brabham in 1970, landed in the team in the year the Repco 860 quad-cam engine failed consistently.

Jochen had been in GP racing since mid 1964, was a consistent winner in F2 and had taken the 1965 Le Mans classic with Masten Gregory in a Ferrari 250LM, was regarded as one of the fastest guys around, if not the fastest but had still not scored his first GP win. Graham was simply blown-off by a guy with it all to prove, Jochen finally got the breakthrough win at Watkins Glen, the last round of the season in which Graham had what could have been a career ending shunt.

He spun mid race, undid his belts to bump start the car and of course was unable to redo them unaided; he spun again on lap 91, this time the car overturned throwing him out and breaking both his legs badly.

What then followed was a winter of Hill’s familiar grit and determination to be on the South African GP grid in March 1970. He was and  finished 6th in Rob Walkers Lotus 49C Ford.

Quite a guy, G Hill.

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Team Lotus 1969. Hill, Chapman and Rindt. A tough season all round. With some reliability from his Lotus and mechanical sympathy to it from Rindt, there was a serious opportunity at the title that year, not to be (unattributed)

Etcetera: Lotus 63 Ford…

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John Miles races the Lotus 63 to 10th on his GP debut at Silverstone 1969. Rounding him up is Piers Courage’ Frank Williams owned Brabham BT26 Ford, he finished 5th at Silverstone in a ripper season in this year old chassis. He emerged as a true GP front runner in ’69 (unattributed)

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Cutaway self explanatory for our Spanish friends! Key elements of 4WD system in blue; see front mounted Ferguson system diff, Ford Cosworth DFV and Hewland DG300 ‘box mounted ‘arse about’ with driveshafts on LHS of cockpit taking the drive fore and aft to respective diffs. Rear suspension top rocker and lower wishbone, coil spring/damper, brakes inboard (unattributed)

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John Miles, young Lotus engineer and F3 graduate ponders his mount. Lotus 63 Ford. He was later to say the 63 was not so bad, he did more miles in it than anyone else, until he first parked his butt in a conventional Lotus 49! which provided context. Note forward driving position for the time and sheet steel to stiffen the spaceframe chassis. Nice shot of disc, rocker assy and stub axle also (unattributed)

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Fantastic front end detail shot of the Lotus 63. Spaceframe chassis, Lotus first since 1962, beefy front uprights, upper rocker actuating spring/shock, lower wishbone. Ferguson system front diff axle and driveshafts to wheels. Big ventilated inboard discs. Intricate steering linkage from angled rack to provide clearance required (unattributed)

Photo Credits…

Brian Watson…http://www.brianwatsonphoto.co.uk/FormulaOne/races/brit69.html#1

Graham Howard ‘History of The Australian GP’

Tailpiece: Tauranac, Hill and the ‘Lobster Claw’ BT34 1971…

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RT seeks feedback from GH during Italian GP practice Monza 1971. Hill Q14 and DNF with gearbox failure on lap 47. GH best results in 1971 5th in Austria and Q4 in France. Teammate Tim Schenken, in his first full F1 year generally quicker than GH in the year old, very good BT33, BT34 not RT’s best Brabham. No doubt RT missed Jack Brabham’s chassis development skills, Jack was on his Wagga Wagga farm from the start of 1971 (unattributed)

Finito…

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

 

jpj monaco ms11

French racing champion and Monaco Grand Prix winner Jean-Pierre Beltoise died last week at 77 as a result of two strokes…this shot is JPB in his F1 Matra MS11 V12 at Spa 1968…

JPB commenced his racing career on bikes, winning 11 French titles and competing internationally from 1962-4 and ‘progressed’ to cars overcoming a bad crash in the 1963 Reims 12 Hour which gave him limited mobility in one arm.

He recovered from the setback and was soon part of Matras’ racing project growing and developing with the team as it progressed from F3 to F1 in addition to the aerospace companies beloved endurance program.

jpb german gp 1966 ms5

JPB and Jacky Ickx were both very fast in their Matra MS5 Ford F2 cars at the ‘Ring, German GP 1966. JPB 8th and first of the F2’s in the race won by Jack Brabhams Brabham BT19 Repco.(Bernard Cahier)

He was the French F3 Champion and Monaco F3 race winner in 1965 and 1966 respectively in a Matra MS5 Ford, also winning the European F2 Championship in 1968 in a Matra MS7 Ford FVA.

jpj mexico 67 ms7

JPB competing in the 1967 Mexican GP in his little F2 210bhp Ford FVA powered Matra MS7, the little car finished 7th in a race won by Jim Clarks’ Lotus 49 Ford. Useful circuit knowledge for JPB with Matra entering GP racing with their 3 litre V12 engined contender in 1968.(Bernard Cahier)

French drivers came to the fore with the support of the national fuel company Elf, Matra and others in the 60’s. When I think of JPB his compatriots of that era and the influence they had on racing also spring to mind; Henri Pescarolo, Johnny Servoz-Gavin, JPB’s brother in law Francois Cevert, Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Gerard Larrousse, Bob Wollek, Jean-Pierre Jarier, Patrick Depailler and a little later the Jabouille, Tambay, Arnoux, Prost generation.

But it was Beltoise and Pescarolo who lead the way for the others.

jpb monaco 68 ms11

Matra made their F1 debut at Monaco 1968, their 3 litre V12 engined Matra MS11 driven by JPB. He qualified the car 11th, DNF after ‘kerbing’ the car and damaging its suspension. Note the ‘snub’ Monaco nose and exotic exhausts, cak looks like a ‘big banger’ from this angle. Race won by Hills’ Lotus 49 Ford. (Unattributed)

jpb monaco kerb

‘Kerbing’ his MS11 at Monaco 1968 referred to above…(Unattributed)

jpj matra ms84 silverstone 1969

Beltoise in the 4WD Matra MS84 Ford at the 1969 British GP at Silverstone. Not a successful experiment for Matra, Lotus, Cosworth and McLaren who all built 4WD cars which raced, or in the Cosworths’ case, tested in 1969. JPB Q17 and 9th in the race won by teammate Stewarts’ conventional Matra MS80. (Unattributed)

Matra MS120…

Matra withdrew their own team from F1 in 1969 to further develop their V12, Matra International, was the name given to Ken Tyrrells’ team who won the world championship in Ford Cosworth powered MS80’s in 1969. The MS120 was covered in an earlier article.

https://primotipo.com/2014/07/06/venetia-day-and-the-1970-matra-ms120/

daytona 1970

Workshop at Daytona 1970. JPB on the right, Henri Pescarolo, Francois Cevert and Jacqueline JPB wife and Cevert’ sister. Cevert soon to be an F1 driver with Tyrrell from the 1970 Dutch GP, Pesca and JPB Matra F1 drivers that year. Cevert shared a Matra MS 650 at Daytona with Jack Brabham to 10th, JPB and Pesca 18th. Race won by the Porsche 917K of Rodriguez/Kinnunen/Siffert. (Unattributed)

jpb dutch gp 1970 ms120

Dutch GP 1970. JPB in the Matra MS120 ahead of ’69 teammate Jackie Stewarts’ March 701 Ford…both cars inferior to their 1969 Matra MS80 Ford. JPB 5th in the first race win for Rindts’ Lotus 72 Ford but all unimportant in the context of Piers Courage’ death during the race. (Cahier Archive)

jpb spanish gp

Unusual low level shot of JPB in his Matra MS120B 6th at Montjuich Park Barcelona 1971 Spanish GP. Stewart won in a Tyrrell 003 Ford. (Unattributed)

Whilst many enthusiasts rightly think of him as a Matra driver, it was at the wheel of a BRM P160 that Beltoise won the 1972 Monaco GP driving the V12 engined car with a deftness of touch in streaming wet conditions and winning the race from ‘rain master’ Jacky Ickx’ Ferrari 312B.

BRM’s best days were behind them but JPB soldiered on with the British team retiring from GP racing at the end of 1974 to a successful career in touring cars, winning the French Touring Car Championship in 1976 and 1977.

jpj monaco brm 1972

Jean-Pierre drove his year old BRM P160B to a well earned victory in the wet 1972 Monaco GP. The smooth power delivery of the V12 complemented Tony Southgates great chassis, but JPJ drove with great skill that day, beating established wet weather ace Jacky Ickx into 2nd place. Stewart, Regazzoni, and many other drivers spun or had accidents. It was quite a drive. (Unattributed)

jpb tdf ms 650

Only in Italy or France, bless em! 1970 Tour de France Auto placegetters; JPB and Jean Todt in his rally co-driver days 1st, Pescarolo and Johnny Rives both in road registered Matra MS650’s from third placed Gerard Larrousse/Gelin Porsche 911ST cruising thru Parisian traffic. Even at circa 800kg and 2.4 litres the 911 was no match for the 3 litre V12, marginally detuned Matra Sports Prototypes. Oh what a sight and sound. (Unattributed)

JPB was a mainstay of Matras’ endurance program winning and placing well in many events but not getting the elusive Le Mans win he cherished.

His most successful endurance season was in 1974 winning four events in the Matra Simca MS670C together with Jean-Pierre Jarier; Nurburgring 750Km, Watkins Glen 6 Hour, Paul Ricard 750Km and Brands Hatch 1000Km playing a key role in Matras’ World Championship of Makes victory in 1973 and 1974.

jpb matra ms660 paris

Aviating in the Matra MS660 he shared with Henri Pescarolo in the 1970 Paris 1000Km, Monthlery. (Unattributed)

Etcetera…

jpj dutch gp 1968 ms11

2nd in the 1968 Dutch GP, the team having made its GP debut at Monaco in May. Matra MS11. JPB qualified 16th but drove a great wet weather race recovering from a couple of spins finishing only a second behind Stewarts’ victorious Ford engined Matra MS10. (Unattributed)

jpj spain 1969 ms80

Spanish GP, Montjuich Park Barcelona 1969. Matra withdrew its own team to develop its V12 in 1969. JPB joined Ken Tyrrells’ team who ran the Matra MS 80 powered by the Ford DFV V8, winning the title for Jackie Stewart in a car which was one of his favourites. JPB finished3rd in the race won by Stewarts’ sister car, the MS80 making its GP debut at this event. High wings banned at the next race, Monaco after the wing failures to the Lotus 49’s in Spain was the ‘straw which broke the camels back’.(Unattributed)

jpj ms 80 1969

‘I want it there!’. Mirror location with the Tyrrell Team mechanics 1969…high wing, so early in the season. Spain in all probability upon car debut. Matra MS80 Ford.(Robin Townsend)

french gp 1969

JPB on the way to a hard won 2nd place at Clermont-Ferrand in the 1969 French GP. Stewart won the race but JPB drove hard pressuring Ickx into a mistake on the last lap. Matra MS80 Ford. What a circuit this was! (FlickrZantafio56)

jpb and amon french gp 1971

JPB ahead of his teammate Chris Amon, French GP 1971. Amon was usually the quicker. Amon 5th and JPB 7th Matra MS120B. Stewart won in a Tyrrrell 003 Ford. (motorsport.com)

brm p160

On the Spanish GP grid in the BRM P160B 1972, like his old Matra V12, a 48 valve 60 degree quad cam V12…and also like the Matra not as competitive as the 32 valve 90 degree quad cam Ford Cosworth DFV V8! DNF after a gear linkage failure, Q7. Fittipaldi won, Lotus 72D Ford.(Unattributed)

71 lemans jpb

Matra MS660 Le Mans 1971 with Chris Amon. Race detail in the below caption…tough for the 3 litre prototypes against the 5 litre Porsche 917 and Ferrari 512S/M! (Unattributed)

jpb le mans 1971

JPB and Chris Amon Matra MS 660 Le Mans 1971. DNF fuel injection dramas in their 3 litre prototype, the race won by the 5 litre Porsche 917K sportscar of Marko/VanLennep. (Unattributed)

Photo Credits…

Cahier Archive, Robin Townsend, motorsport.com, Flickr