2012 Le Mans 24 Hours - Matra’s return! Forty years ago Matra scored the first of its three victories in the Sarthe. These successes have become part of the Le Mans legend and they will be celebrated in the manner they deserve at the 80th event on 16-17 June.
This hat trick in 1972, 1973 and 1974 was the culmination of an incredible love story between the French manufacturer and motor racing. Matra’s first appearance in the Sarthe was in 1966 on the initiative of its go-getting boss, Jean-Luc Lagardère, but not until six years later did the Marseillaise finally ring out from the podium thanks to the blue cars.
This saga that has remained firmly engraved in everybody’s memory will be celebrated in a fitting manner thanks to a partnership between Matra MS and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest. The highpoint of the presence of the French manufacturer at the 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours will be the demonstration by the cars that won the race between 1972 and 1974.
The best will be there: the 1972 winning chassis, the Matra-Simca MS 670, owned by the Lagardère Group, two of the cars entered in 1973 – the Matra- Simca MS 670 B – including the one that won the race and the victorious 1974 car, another Matra-Simca MS 670 B, which is part of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest’s collection.
The drivers chosen to give them a run on this occasion are obviously symbolic: Henri Pescarolo at the wheel in all three victories, Gérard Larrousse winner in 1973 and 1974 with Pescarolo, Josh Hill, Damon’s son and Graham’s grandson, and Jean-Pierre Jabouille who was on the Le Mans 24-Hours podium on three occasions.
This exceptional demonstration run will take place on Saturday 16th June between 12h35 and 12h50 as a curtain-raiser to the Le Mans 24 Hours.
In addition to this outstanding event Matra and the ACO have created a collection of clothes inspired by those worn by the members of the Matra team in the 70s. Caps, T-shirts and jackets will help revive this victorious era of the French make. They will be on sale in the three boutiques inside the circuit, in the museum, on the central square and the Tavano grandstand.
Finally, Matra, manufacturer of top-of-the-range electric scooters has decided to equip the management of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest with twelve of these machines that are as quick as they are light. This step is in keeping with the ACO’s actions to take into account the principle of sustainable development on its site and at its events.