V12 Matra MS650 to run on French roads in Tour Optic
The 1970/71 Tour de France Automobile winning Matra MS650 will return to French public roads in April
A Matra MS650, designed to Group 6 regulations for the 1969 World Sportscar Championship, will feature in this year’s Tour Auto Optic 2000.
The three-litre V12 prototype formed one-half of Matra’s plan to win both the 1969 Formula 1 title and 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans.
While Jackie Stewart delivered the F1 championship for the French team, all three of the MS650s entered at Le Mans failed to survive beyond the eighth hour.
However, the car did go on to take victory in the 1970 and 1971 Tour de France Automobile, driven by French drivers Jean-Pierre Beltoise, Patrick Depailler, Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Gérard Larrousse and Henri Pescarolo.
By the end of its production life, just three MS650s were built. Power is estimated to have been between 410 and 470bhp, with weight approximately 800kg.
To race on the public roads the car underwent a number of modifications including a seat for the co-driver, additional lights, tweaks to the cooling system, and suspension changes.
For this year’s 27th Tour Optic 2000, held between April 23-28, one MS650 will return to French roads where it will be driven by ‘Mr John of B’, a renowned historic sportscar racer.
The 2125km route from Paris to Nice via Besancon, Megève, Avignon and Aix en Provence will also include the Dijon-Prenois, Bresse, Lédenon and Paul Ricard circuits.
Although the Matra makes a fitting return to home soil, the 2018 Tour Optic 2000 will celebrate Italian manufacturers that competed in the original event including Autobianchi, De Tomaso and Osca plus lesser known makes Cisitalia, Lombardi, Moretti and Siata.
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