45. Matra MS11 1968

S4356 Matra MS11 Monaco GP 1968 – Jean-Pierre Beltoise

Nowadays we do not speak anymore about engines in F1. They are called power units. Their technical secrets are well protected. Previously, especially in the Sixties, this was completely different. Everybody who wanted could have a look at the engine. Nothing was hidden. And they also made a nice noise – not like today.

Matra was at the top of the decibel scale. The French manufacturer who previously was involved in the aircraft and armaments industry built the probably loudest V12-engines that Formula 1 had ever seen or heard. The first F1-car Matra built was the MS11 – based on the MS7, Matras succesful Formula-2-car. An almost identical chassis was delivered to Ken Tyrrell the same year. Instead of MS11 he used the name MS10 and let the car race as Matra International with a Cosworth engine – quite successful. With three victories number one driver Jackie Stewart got second at the end of the year. Team Matra Sports, the actual factory team, was less successful with the MS11 which Spark released in 1:43. Jean-Pierre Beltoise secured second place in the Grand Prix of the Netherlands. But there were also six DNF’s out of ten races. Most failures were caused by the fragile French engine. Like in Monaco at the debut race Beltoise retired after a few laps. In spite of the supposedly “power” of their V12, Matra was not as strong as Cosworth. With only 380 hp the French unit was not only weaker than the legendary DFV of the British engine manufacturer the whole vehicle was heavier. Matra decided therefore to make a pause as a factory team for a year. Not so Ken Tyrrell. He trusted on the successor model, the MS80, and won the title with Jackie Stewart. Beltoise, who drove for Matra until 1971, and was also part of the team with Ken Tyrrell in 1969, said shortly before his death (2015): “In the time I was driving Matra there was only one year when I really learned something. That was in the team of Ken Tyrrell in 1969. He and Stewart helped Matra to be competitive. When the French took over again in 1970 the project stagnated.”


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