|Base||Vélizy-Villacoublay, Paris, France|
|Noted staff||Gérard Ducarouge
|Noted drivers|| Johnny Servoz-Gavin
|Formula One World Championship career|
|Debut||1967 Monaco Grand Prix|
|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 automobile, 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.
By merging with various companies Matra CEO Jean-Luc Lagardère built around Matra a group diversified in media, weaponry, high technologies, 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
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)
- Matra Défense
- Matra Systèmes & Information
- Matra BAe Dynamics (50% British Aerospace), formed in 1996, Matra BAe Dynamics brought together the missile business of BAe (BAe Dynamics) and half of the missile business of Matra Défense. (The other half remained as Aerospatiale Matra Missiles).
- Matra Marconi Space (49% GEC), was the space division of Matra which merged with the space operations of GEC (Marconi Space Systems) in 1989 to form Matra Marconi Space. In 2000, it was merged with the space division of DaimlerChrysler Aerospace AG (DASA) to form Astrium. This was later renamed to EADS Astrium.
- Matra Nortel Communications (50% Nortel)
Matra road cars
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.
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.
- Matra Djet
- Matra 530
- Matra 630
- Matra 650
- Matra 670
- Matra Bagheera
- Matra Murena
- Matra Rancho
- Renault Espace
- Renault Avantime
Matra racing history
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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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. 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 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.
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.
- 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 MS640
- Matra MS650
- Matra MS670B
- Matra MS670C
- 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)
- Matra produced a home computer, the Matra Alice.
- Matra created an automatic (driverless) light rubber-tired metro, the VAL
- Matra attempted, and failed to produce a personal rapid transit system, Aramis.
- Today, Matra makes the electric bicycles and electric scooters Matra i-step Runner, Tourer and Force as well as Matra i-flow in Romorantin.
Complete Formula One World Championship results
(key) (results in bold indicate pole position; results in italics indicate fastest lap)
1 In the 1968 Constructors' Championship, Matra-Ford finished 3rd (45 points), Matra(-Matra) finished 9th (8 points)
- History of Renault Espace includes opinions about demise of Matra
- http://www.epaf.fr Restoration & rebuild of Matra competition cars
|Formula One Constructors' Champion