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The Matra Company's racing team, under the names of Matra Sports, Equipe Matra Elf and Equipe Matra Sports (after a takeover by Simca in 1969 as Matra-Simca Division Automobile), was formed in 1965 and based at Champagne-sur-Seine (1965–1967), Romorantin-Lanthenay (1967–1969) and Vélizy-Villacoublay (1969–1979). In 1979 the team was taken over by Peugeot and renamed as Automobiles Talbot.
|Base||Vélizy-Villacoublay, Paris, France|
|Team principal(s)||Jean-Luc Lagardère|
|Noted staff||Gérard Ducarouge|
|Noted drivers||Johnny Servoz-Gavin |
|Formula One World Championship career|
|First entry||1967 Monaco Grand Prix|
|Final entry||1972 United States Grand Prix|
|Formula One World Championship career|
|First entry||1968 Monaco Grand Prix|
|Last entry||1982 Caesars Palace Grand Prix|
|Races entered||126 (125 starts)|
|Chassis||Matra, Shadow, Ligier|
Motorsports history edit
In the mid-1960s, Matra enjoyed considerable success in Formula 3 and F2 racing, particularly with the MS5 monocoque-based car, winning the French and European championships. In 1967, Jacky Ickx surprised the F1 establishment by posting the third-fastest qualifying time of 8:14" at the German Nürburgring in his 1600cc Matra MS7 F2, which was allowed to enter alongside the 3000cc F1 cars. In the race, he failed to finish due to a broken suspension.
The F1 team was established at Vélizy-Villacoublay in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, France. The car's most innovative feature was the use of aviation-inspired structural fuel tanks. These allowed the chassis to be around 15 kg (33 lb) lighter, while still being stronger than its competitors. The FIA considered the technology to be unsafe and decided to ban it for 1970.
Matra CEO Jean-Luc Lagardère made a strategic decision for the 1969 championship: the Matra works team would not compete in Formula One. Matra would instead focus its efforts on Ken Tyrrell's privateer team (renamed Matra International) and build a new Ford Cosworth DFV-powered car with structural fuel tanks, even though it would only be eligible for a single season. The decision was even more radical given that Matra was seeking a partnership with Simca, which would preclude using Ford-branded engines for the following year. Stewart won the 1969 title easily with the new Cosworth-powered Matra MS80 car, which was designed by Gérard Ducarouge and Bernard Boyer, and corrected most of the weaknesses of the MS10. Stewart's title was the first won in a car built by a French constructor, and still remains the only one won in a car built in France as well as in a car entered by a privateer team. It was a spectacular achievement from a constructor that had only entered Formula One the previous year. France became only the third country (after the United Kingdom and Italy) to have produced a winning constructor, and Matra became the only constructor to have won the Constructors' Championship without running its own works team.
Like Cosworth, Lotus and McLaren, Matra experimented with four wheel drive during the 1969 season. Johnny Servoz-Gavin became the one and only driver to score a point with a 4WD car, finishing sixth with the Matra MS84 at the Canadian Grand Prix. The MS84, along with Brabham's BT26A, was one of the last spaceframe cars to compete in Formula One.
For 1970 following the agreement with Simca, Matra asked Tyrrell to use their V12 engine rather than the Cosworth. Stewart got to test the Matra V12, but since a large part of the Tyrrell budget was provided by Ford, and another significant sponsor was French state-owned petroleum company Elf, which had an agreement with Renault that precluded supporting a Simca partner, the partnership between Matra and Tyrrell ended.
Matra V12 engines powered the Shadow DN7 car in two races of the 1975 season and then cars built and entered by the Ligier Formula 1 team from 1976–1978, and again (under the name Talbot Ligier) from 1981-1982, winning three races (the 1977 Swedish Grand Prix, 1981 Austrian Grand Prix and 1981 Canadian Grand Prix). Jacques Laffite´s victory at the 1977 Swedish Grand Prix was the first Formula One victory for a French-licensed team and a French engine, as well as the first all-French victory in the Formula One World Championship.
The company was also successful in endurance racing with cars powered by the V12 engine. The sportscar racing team was based at first at Vélizy-Villacoublay and then moved to Le Castellet, near Marseille, France.
Racing models edit
- Matra MS1
- Matra MS2
- Matra MS5
- Matra MS6
- Matra MS7
- Matra MS9
- Matra MS10
- Matra MS11
- Matra MS80
- Matra MS84
- Matra MS120
- Matra MS120B
- Matra MS120C
- Matra MS120D
- Matra MS610
- Matra MS620
- Matra MS630
- Matra-Simca MS630
- Matra-Simca MS630/650
- Matra MS640
- Matra-Simca MS650
- Matra-Simca MS660
- Matra-Simca MS660C
- Matra-Simca MS670
- Matra-Simca MS670B
- Matra-Simca MS670C
- Matra-Simca MS680
- 334 races, all categories, spanning 10 years
- 124 victories, 104 lap records
- 1 Formula One World Drivers' Championship (1969, Jackie Stewart, MS80)
- 1 Formula One World Constructors' Championship (1969, Matra-Elf International)
- 5 French Formula Two Championships (1966–1967–1968–1969–1970)
- 3 European Formula Two Championships (1967–1968–1969)
- 3 French Formula Three Championships (1965–1966–1967)
- 2 World Championship for Makes (1973–1974)
- 3 victories at 24 Hours of Le Mans (1972–1973–1974)
- 2 victories at Tour de France Automobile (1970–1971)
Complete Formula One World Championship results edit
As a constructor edit
As an engine supplier edit
- In the 1968 Constructors' Championship, Matra-Ford finished 3rd (45 points), Matra(-Matra) finished 9th (8 points)
- "Matra (France)". allcarindex.com. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
- Steve Small. The Guinness Complete Grand Prix Who's Who. p. 196. ISBN 0851127029.
- "Equipe Matra - F1technical.net". f1technical.net. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
- "Matra MS80". StatsF1. Retrieved 23 August 2023.
- Jackie Stewart´s Matra MS80 was built in Vélizy-Villacoublay, France. Fernando Alonso's Renault R25 and Renault R26 were built in Enstone, UK.
- "1981 German Grand Prix Entry list".
- Jackie Stewart achieved victory at the 1968 Dutch Grand Prix with a French Matra MS10 car, but the car was entered by the British privateer team Matra International.
- Team, car, engine and driver were French. The gearbox was British (Hewland) and the tyres American (Goodyear). Jean-Pierre Jabouille and Renault achieved victory at the 1979 French Grand Prix with an all-Renault car and Michelin tyres.
- "Constructors: Matra Sports SARL". grandprix.com. Retrieved 26 December 2016.