Matra

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This article is about the French automobile, aeronautics and weaponry company. For other uses, see Matra (disambiguation).
Matra
Matra logo.gif
Full name Mecanique-Aviation-Traction
Base Romorantin-Lanthenay, France (company headquarters) and Vélizy-Villacoublay, Paris, France (F1 base)
Team principal(s) Jean-Luc Lagardère
Founder(s) Jean-Luc Lagardère
Noted staff Gérard Ducarouge
Ken Tyrrell
Bernard Boyer
Noted drivers France Johnny Servoz-Gavin
France Henri Pescarolo
United Kingdom Jackie Stewart
France Jean-Pierre Beltoise
New Zealand Chris Amon
Formula One World Championship career
Debut 1967 Monaco Grand Prix
Races competed 61
Constructors'
Championships
1 (1969)
Drivers'
Championships
1 (1969)
Race victories 9
Pole positions 4
Fastest laps 12
Final race 1972 United States Grand Prix

Mécanique Aviation Traction or Matra (Mécanique Aviation TRAction) was a French company covering a wide range of activities mainly related to automobiles, bicycles, aeronautics and weaponry. In 1994, it became a subsidiary of the Lagardère Group and now operates under that name.

Matra was owned by the Floirat family. The name Matra became famous in the 1960s when it went into car production by buying Automobiles René Bonnet. Matra Automobiles produced racing cars and sports cars, and was successful in racing.

Lagardère involvement[edit]

By merging with various companies Matra CEO Jean-Luc Lagardère built a group around Matra diversified in media, weaponry, state of the art technology, aeronautics and formerly in automobiles and records production and distribution. Matra was privatized in 1988, with Lagardère holding 6% of the stock and by 1992 25%.

In 1992 the Lagardère Group was radically restructured; acquiring more shares in Matra from Floirat, Daimler Benz and GEC, and Hachette from Floirat, Crédit Lyonnais and Aberly. Lagardère merged Matra and Hachette to form Matra Hachette, of which Lagardère Group held 37.6%. Following a share swap in 1994 Lagardère held 93.3% of Matra Hachette’s stock. In 1996 Matra Hachette was formally merged into Lagardère.

Matra Hautes Technologies[edit]

Matra Hautes Technologies (Matra High Technology) or MHT was the defence arm of Matra. The company was involved in aerospace, defence and telecommunications. In February 1999 Matra Hautes Technologies merged with Aérospatiale to form Aérospatiale-Matra. On July 10, 2000 Aérospatiale-Matra became part of EADS.

Divisions (as of Aérospatiale merger)[edit]

Matra road cars[edit]

Matra 530
Matra Bagheera

The company was created following the acquisition of the brand Automobiles René Bonnet in 1965 by Jean-Luc Lagardere and disappeared in 2003.

The Matra name was first used for road cars with the Renault-powered Matra Djet (pronounced "Jet"), which was an update of the Bonnet Jet, the Djet was replaced with the Matra 530, Bagheera, the Murena and the Rancho, an early type of SUV.

In 1984 Renault launched the Matra built Espace minivan, the car became a big success.

After the discontinuation of the Renault Avantime (co-designed and built by Matra), on February 27, 2003 Matra announced its intention to close its automobile factory in Romorantin-Lanthenay, with the factory closing a month later.

In September 2003, Pininfarina SpA acquired Matra Automobile's engineering, testing and prototype businesses. The company was subsequently named Matra Automobile Engineering. On January 13, 2009, Pininfarina sold its share in Matra Automobile Engineering to Segula Technologies.

Street models[edit]

Matra racing history[edit]

In the mid-1960s Matra enjoyed considerable success in Formula 3 and F2 racing with (especially) its MS5 monocoque-based car, winning the French and European championships. In 1967, Jacky Ickx famously amazed the F1 establishment by clocking in the 3rd-fastest qualifying time of 8:14" on the German Nürburgring in his 1600 cc MS5 F2, which was allowed to enter alongside the 3000 cc F1 cars. In the race, he failed to finish due to a broken suspension.


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Jackie Stewart in 1969 with a Matra-Ford at the Nürburgring. The car wears the blue racing colour of France.
François Cevert driving the Matra 670 Group 5 Sports Car in the 1973 1000 km Nürburgring race.
V12 engine in a Matra MS11 F1, 1968.

Matra entered Formula One in 1968 when Jackie Stewart was a serious contender, winning several Grands Prix in the Tyrrell-run Matra MS10 which competed alongside the works team. Known as Sir Jackie Stewart, the Goodwood Revival 2014 has chosen to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of Jackie Stewart. To do so, a trio of special parades that will honor the three-time Formula 1 world champion will be displayed, and in which he will take part. One of which being held in the afternoon of each of the days of the 2014 edition of the Goodwood Revival. The car races will be September 12-14 [1] at Goodwood Motor Circuit. In 1964, he was seen testing with Robin Mackay who helped to arrange an F3 trial with a team by Ken Tyrrell, which at 24 was already on the way on to worldwide stardom.

The F1 team was established at Vélizy-Villacoublay in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, France.[2] 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 radical strategic decision for the 1969 championship: The Matra works team would not compete in Formula One. Matra would instead focus its efforts on the Ken Tyrrell´s team (renamed Matra International) and build a new 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, which was designed by Gérard Ducarouge and Bernard Boyer, and corrected most of the weaknesses of the MS10. 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 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 1975 and then Ligier Formula 1 team from 197678, and again from 1981-82 (branded as Talbot).

The firm was also successful in endurance racing with cars powered by the V12 engine. The sportscar team was based at first at Vélizy-Villacoublay and then moved to Le Castellet, near Marseille, France.[3]

The Matra MS670 won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1972, 1973, and 1974. It also delivered the World Championship for Makes to Matra in both 1973 and 1974.

Racing models[edit]

Successes[edit]

The F1 Matra MS80 victorious in 1969

Other activities[edit]

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

(key) (results in bold indicate pole position; results in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant/s Chassis/ Engine Tyres Driver/s 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Points WCC
1967 RSA MON NED BEL FRA GBR GER CAN ITA USA MEX 0 -
Matra Sports Matra MS7 Ford Straight-4 D France Johnny Servoz-Gavin Ret
France Jean-Pierre Beltoise DNQ 7 7
1968 RSA ESP MON BEL NED FRA GBR GER ITA CAN USA MEX 8 9th1
Matra Sports Matra MS11 Matra V12 D France Henri Pescarolo Ret DNS 9
France Jean-Pierre Beltoise Ret 8 2 9 Ret Ret 5 Ret Ret Ret
Matra MS7 Ford Straight-4 6 45 3rd1
Matra International Matra MS9
Matra MS10
Ford Cosworth DFV D 5
United Kingdom Jackie Stewart Ret Inj Inj 4 1 3 6 1 Ret 6 1 7
France Johnny Servoz-Gavin Ret 2 Ret Ret
1969 RSA ESP MON NED FRA GBR GER ITA CAN USA MEX 66 1st
Matra International Matra MS10
Matra MS80
Matra MS84
Ford Cosworth DFV D United Kingdom Jackie Stewart 1 1 Ret 1 1 1 2 1 Ret Ret 4
France Jean-Pierre Beltoise 6 3 Ret 8 2 9 12 3 4 Ret 5
France Johnny Servoz-Gavin 6 NC 8
1970 RSA ESP MON BEL NED FRA GBR GER AUT ITA CAN USA MEX 23 6th
Equipe Matra Elf Matra-Simca MS120 Matra V12 G France Jean-Pierre Beltoise 4 Ret Ret 3 5 13 Ret Ret 6 3 8 Ret 5
France Henri Pescarolo 7 Ret 3 6 8 5 Ret 6 14 Ret 7 8 9
1971 RSA ESP MON NED FRA GBR GER AUT ITA CAN USA 9 7th
Equipe Matra Sports Matra-Simca MS120B
Matra-Simca MS120
Matra V12 G France Jean-Pierre Beltoise 6 Ret 9 7 7 Ret 8
New Zealand Chris Amon 5 3 Ret Ret 5 Ret Ret 6 10 12
1972 ARG RSA ESP MON BEL FRA GBR GER AUT ITA CAN USA 12 8th
Equipe Matra Matra-Simca MS120C
Matra-Simca MS120D
Matra V12 G New Zealand Chris Amon Ret 15 Ret 6 6 3 4 15 5 Ret 6 15

1 In the 1968 Constructors' Championship, Matra-Ford finished 3rd (45 points), Matra(-Matra) finished 9th (8 points)

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Lotus
Formula One Constructors' Champion
1969
Succeeded by
Lotus