Friday 24 February 2012

The Matra MS80: Flying with Jackie Stewart

Matra was a high-tech French company involved in aeronautics and weaponry.

In the mid-1960's they diversified into automobiles by purchasing Automobiles René Bonnet with the specific goal of raising their public profile by building sports cars and race cars.

They found considerable success in building winning Formula 3 and Formula 2 racing cars, using construction methods developed in aeronautics.

They took the plunge into Formula 1 in 1968, developing the the Matra MS10. The team was run by Ken Tyrrell, with Jackie Stewart (Scotland) as driver. Amazingly, Stewart found three wins in the new racer and finish in second place in the Championship.

Jackie Stewart - Matra MS80 - Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort 1969
Pen&ink, paint markers and archival markers on blue archival paper © Paul Chenard 2012

Original art available, as are limited editions.

For the 1969 Formula 1 season, Stewart started again with the Cosworth-powered MS10, winning the first race of the season in South Africa. Afterward, he switched to the new Cosworth DFV-powered MS80, which carried overall improvements over the previous Matra. Stewart won the Spanish, Dutch, French, British, and German Grands Prix and easily took the first of his three Championships.

For 1970, Matra joined Simca (Chrysler). With Tyrrell's major support coming from Ford, sponsorship conflicts ended the Tyrrell/Matra relationship. At the same time, FIA specification changes ruled out the MS80.

Jackie Stewart loved to race the MS80, saying it was beautifully balanced and stable at speed, qualities he used effectively to win.


rob ijbema said...

love the painting paul..the blue background is a nice move but i also enjoy the write up,very engaging!

Anonymous said...

Viva la Matra! Such rare and beautiful French cars...nothing we've seen like them since save for the Peugeot Le Mans effort :)

Murray Dewhurst said...

I agree, the blue background is perfect for the Matra subject. Nice work!