Matra MS670B - 1974

Cette collection est une adaptation de 24H Le Mans ® Le auto delle corsa più leggendaria al mondo Éditeur : Centauria Editore s.r.l. 

Matra MS670

In 1972, without the Porsche 917s and the Ferrari 512s, excluded by the new Group 5 regulations, Matra was the favourite for the Le Mans 24 Hours, which it had been aiming to win since 1970. Thanks to the reliability of the MS670, it won three times in a row.

Gérard Larrousse was victorious in the 1974 Le Mans 24 Hours driving an MS670C (no. 7). Behind him, team-mates Jabouille and Migault's N°9 car placed third. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. 

By the end of the 1960s, Matra had already acquired a certain celebrity status among the general public: the company, founded by Marcel Chassagny in 1941, was active in the aeronautical sector, and had only recently entered the motor racing arena with the intention of winning the Formula 1 World Championship in 1968 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans the following year. The first objective was achieved. For the second, the French team encountered more difficulties.

Its Group 6 cars, the top category at Le Mans with its special championship, were competitive but suffered from reliability problems, especially in terms of engines. In 1967, when the regulations limited the engine capacity to 3 litres, as in Formula 1, Matra asked the engineer Georges Martin to design a V12 engine with that capacity to be used in both disciplines. However, this engine appeared to be insufficiently developed, and had to be replaced in the F1 World Championship single-seaters by a Ford Cosworth V8.

1. The winning car in 1974 was the last MS670 to be built, originally a B version (chassis number B 06) and rebuilt to the technical specifications of the C version while retaining its original bodywork.

2 The only externally visible change on this car was the raised air intake above the roll bar.

© IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. 

For 1970, Matra lined up the MS660, built like the 650 on a monocoque chassis instead of the tubular trellis of the 630/650, a choice dictated by the need to reduce the car's weight. The V12 still had problems, and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the MS660 and the two MS650s that entered the race retired before they knew whether they could stand up to the formidable 5-litre Sports cars, especially the Porsche 917s and Ferrari 512 Ss. History repeated itself in 1971: the only MS 660 was again forced to withdraw.

1. The tail on the other MS670Cs was shorter and the wing was moved behind the rear axle, but the winning car with Pescarolo and Larrousse retained the aerodynamic configuration of the previous year.

2. The 1974 MS670Cs were fitted with 15-inch wheels and Goodyear tyres.

© IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. 

In 1972, the Sport and Prototype categories were brought together in the new Group 5, limiting engine capacity to 3 litres (excluding the 917s) resulting in the creation of the Sport-Prototype World Championship. Matra chose to take part in just one event, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, for which it developed the new MS670 based on the structure of the 650, with new aerodynamics and a finally reliable engine. Of the three MS 670s that started, only one failed to reach the finish, while the other two finished first and second respectively.

The winner, with Henri Pescarolo and two-time Formula 1 World Champion Graham Hill at the wheel, was just one lap ahead of the MS670 driven by François Cevert and Howden Ganley. 1973 saw the arrival of the 670B, whose rear brakes were attached to the differential (in-board) and fitted with a Porsche gearbox. The car won the 6 Hours of Vallelunga before claiming four successive victories in the world championship, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Henri Pescarolo/Gérard Larrousse. At the end of the season, Matra wins the World Championship for Manufacturers.

A. The body type B was finished with 2 tails incorporating the lights, unlike the C, which had 2 grilles. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. 

In 1974, Matra entered the MS670C, an upgrade of the B version with a reduced weight of 675 kg, an improved MS73 engine and revised aerodynamics with a wide, cantilevered rear wing. The car achieved a series of successes, winning a 2nd world title and a 3rd consecutive victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, again with Pescarolo/Larrousse driving a car with improved mechanicals but with a B-type body.

B. At the end of the 1950s, Matra began working with Simca, which became its sponsor. From 1970 onwards, Sports and Formula 1 cars competed both under the Matra and Simca brands. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. 

C. Henri Pescarolo in the No. 7 Matra at the 1974 Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite two long stops caused by ignition and gearbox failures, the car managed to maintain part of the lead it had built up. © IXO Collections SAS - Tous droits réservés. 

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