The car – LM69
The finished design is a unique Ecurie Ecosse race car that could have raced at Le Mans in 1969 if Ecurie Ecosse had created their own car, the LM69. It is achingly beautiful, yet with the menace and purposefulness that you would expect of a car designed to win the greatest race on earth! The team shared the design concept with legendary race driver Jackie Oliver who, along with Le Mans legend Jacky Ickx, won the race in 1969 in their Ford GT40. Jackie was very impressed and guided Ecurie Ecosse on the key aerodynamic debate that was happening at the time, including the foibles of the mighty Porsche 917 that was introduced in 1969, before it was tamed by the aero genius of John Horsman and the John Wyer team who showed the Stuttgart team how to turn the 917 into a competitive car. Jackie said ‘’it would have been interesting to have had another British competitor at the race, not least as the GT40 won the race against the faster Porsches through better reliability and great teamwork. It would have been a mouth-watering prospect!’’
The Engine - Quad-cam V12
It goes without saying that a brilliantly designed race car needs a great engine. Currently under development is a unique quad-cam V12 power unit, the type which could have been heard howling down the Mulsanne Straight in 1969 and beyond. Assisted by a team of experienced engine designers and machine shops, the developing quad-cam V12 engine will be “of the period”, albeit incorporating some of the best design practices. It’s being designed to be both powerful (c.95 hp/litre) and a reliably fast race/road engine which is inspired by the basic architecture of those engines which powered cars to victory in the late 1960s. The engine will be available in typical 1960s condition with traditional distributors and mechanical fuel injection, but clients will be offered the option of fully programmable fuel injection & ignition due to the much-improved efficiency and tuneability. The engine is of course normally aspirated, and customers will gain the full visceral experience of a howling V12 race engine inches from the back of their heads. The intention is to offer the engine in two capacities – the “standard” 1966 5.0 – 5.3 litre version, and Neville’s own 7.3 litre version that uses the same basic architecture, but bored and stroked. The 7.3 litre engine is expected to exceed 700 hp.
Ecurie Ecosse LM69
“Beautiful design and stunning attention to historic detail”
Alasdair mccaig - Ceo ecurie ecosse | June 2018
HOW DO YOU DESIGN AN ICON?
Design Q’s Senior Designer, Patrick McCallion, working closely under Howard Guy’s guidance, explains his approach;
“When researching the history of Le Mans, and the rule changes between 1966-69 I was able to understand how rival competitors advanced their ideas over these years. I was able to map a design that was original yet found truth in the innovations of the time. I could only add design and aerodynamic details that could trace their origins to that period. Naturally I found inspiration in other Le Mans competitors whose designs suited my outlook, another designer might have looked in a different direction. Crucially, I kept Ecurie Ecosse in mind while designing as I wanted the car to be a perfect fit for the brand and what might have been.”
“I wanted the Ecurie Ecosse LM69 to look as stunning as a road car as it would on the track, a homologation requirement at the time. The more I looked at Le Mans cars of the era, I tended to favour sophisticated flowing shapes, and designs that raised towards the rear in a natural quest for downforce. The silhouette of the Ferrari 312P struck me, as did road cars like the Lamborghini Miura. I wanted to mix the raised tail design from a side view, but somehow keep the low rear end of the Porsche 908 as this would suit fast tracks like Le Mans. Studying cars like the Alpine A220, I started to discover a way to have both elements and I developed large fins. Seeking more downforce, a common weakness of the era, I added a spoiler that bridged the gap between the fins. Similar spoilers were becoming popular with other teams at the time, and Porsche even had controversial movable aerodynamic wings in 1969. I chose to go for an integrated spoiler to compliment the curves of the body. My side profile, along with the elongated tail fins and integrated spoiler lead to the tear drop rear design, with hints of the Ford GT40, although more drag efficient.”
“At the front, the common consensus at the time was to lower the nose and add winglets to the fenders to aid downforce. A chin splitter could also be added but that would be better suited to tracks with shorter straights. With the air being directed through the grille and flowing through the bonnet over the car, the increase in downforce would be significantly noticeable to the driver, an aero trend that was developing after 1966. The headlights are a direct result of the smooth shape of the fenders. The teardrop shape suited the bodywork and I didn’t want to create a shape that could disrupt the aero. Similar shapes could be found on the Lola T70/Ferrari 312P/Ford GT40, but this unique shape was only possible by trying to perfect the fender shape, moving the surfaces around in CAD imagining its panels were rolled into shape on an English wheel.”
“More air channels to the cabin and engine bay were added to help bring in much needed cold air, and a grid of vents added to the rear allow the hot air to escape aerodynamically. Rules changes imposed after the 1969 race meant the abandonment of the traditional ‘Le Mans Start’ in 1970, where drivers sprinted across the track to their cars to jump in, buckle up and speed off. This was due to an accident in 1968 when Willy Mairesse crashed on the first lap while trying to properly close the door of his car at speed on the Mulsanne Straight, forcing an end to his career.”
“To avoid any issues with access to the car at the start, or at the driver change over in the pits, or even in a tight parking spot when used on the road, I chose a dihedral (butterfly) door design that opens at a 45° angle, similar to the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33, allowing part of the roof to be attached to allow the driver to step in and slide into their seat. A similar door that used part of the roof to gain access was available on the Ford GT40, but that opens at a 90° angle taking up more pit lane space. My door design would also still allow the driver of the road version to remove the roof panel attached to the door for the open-air targa experience.“
“On the road version of the LM69 I want the closed coupe’s roof panel and the sill to expose the bare aluminium bodywork, avoiding the paint process. It could even be polished to shine like jets of the day. This bare metal look would boast the luxury of showcasing it’s aluminium sectioned body and differentiate it to the livery of the track version.’’