Matra in motorsport
This file gives a brief overview of Matra's accomplishments in motorracing, - I have a special section covering their endurance prototypes in more detail.
During the sixties Matra developed their famous screaming 3-litre MS80/81 V-12 engine - which brought the company so much success in their motorsport career. Matra developed a racing programme in the mid 60's and 70's to help publicise the parent company 'Engine Matra'. As with the roadcars, Matra was not afraid to partner other manufactures and engines from BRM and Ford/Cosworth were used in the sports prototypes (eg the M630 or the M650) before Matra completed the development of its own V-12 unit.
This combination led to World Championships in 1973 and 1974. Furthermore Matra made a hat trick at Le Mans by winning in 1972,1973 and 1974.
these figures compares very well with the more recent wins: (ok, - the
newer circuit includes more chicanes, but anyway, an average speed of 120+
mph is still very respectable; only few cars have been faster (the 3 Matra's
are within the top 25 out of 63 Le-Mans races in total).
It appears that the 1980'ies seems to be the fastest Le-Mans decade ever. As a curiosum, the spectacular win of the McLaren F1 in 1995 is not in that list:
1995 McLaren F1 GTR Y.Dalmas, JJ Lehto, M.Sekiya (F,SF,J) 2518.1 105.01
but of course the track has been changed since then (chicanes on the Mulsanne straight etc).
More Le-Mans information can be found at:
I have a special page on Matra's carrier in Formula-1.
Several pictures in the gallery are kindly donated by former Le-Mans
driver Michael Keyser - check
out his nice site, which among many things offers a huge collection of