The Ecurie Ecosse 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.
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.
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!‘’ Powered by a unique quad-cam V12 engine “of the period”, albeit incorporating some of the best design practices. It’s being designed to be both powerful 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.
ECURIE ECOSSE LM69 - THE CAR THAT COULD HAVE WON AT LE MANS...
It’s a question that has dominated the history of the XJ13, a prototype built by Jaguar in 1966 in a quest to continue the marque’s legendary run of success in the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Powered by a new quad-cam, 5-litre V12, the XJ13 was Jaguar’s first mid-engined car – and without doubt one of the most beautiful automotive designs of all time.
Sadly, it remained unraced. A combination of internal politics and a change in sporting regulations meant that it was banished to a corner of the Competition Department – mothballed and all but forgotten as other projects took priority.
But what if the XJ13 had been developed and raced? What if this car’s immense potential had been realised?
Picture the scene: one day in late 1967, members of Ecurie Ecosse – the famous Scottish race team that twice won Le Mans in the 1950s with Jaguar D-types – travel to the Browns Lane factory to discuss repeating that success. During their visit, they spot the XJ13, covered up and tucked away. But as soon as the covers come off, they know that they’ve got a potential winner on their hands.
The deal is done, and work begins on a two-year project to develop and build a car in order for Ecurie Ecosse to take on the might of Ford, Ferrari and Porsche at the 1969 Le Mans 24 Hours.
This alternate reality could have been one of motor racing’s greatest stories – just imagine if the money, not to say courage and ambition, had been invested into it. Now a team of designers and engineers have done just that…
The birth of the Ecurie Ecosse LM69
Fifty years on, the spectacular LM69 is to be launched. While remaining true in spirit and sympathetic to the style of the fabulous XJ13, its bodywork has been developed into an all-new design that has its own purposeful beauty.
The quad-cam V12 is the heart of the car, a unique signature that has been designed to evoke the experience of driving at Le Mans in 1969. And not only is the LM69 suitable for track use, it’s fully road-legal.
A strict brief was established from the start: the design and engineering team would have to adhere to the regulations of the time, and feature only design details and technology that entered motorsport no later than early 1969.
As the XJ13 would have done had it been prepared for serious competition use, the LM69 benefits from innovations that appeared during that exciting era. Composite materials have been used, it’s lighter than the original car, and it boasts experimental aerodynamic devices, wider wheels and tyres, and a much-improved engine.
Only 25 will be produced, in keeping with the 1969 FIA homologation requirements and to maintain its exclusivity. Each one will be individually hand-built in the West Midlands by the best British craftsmen in their field.
The small, resourceful racing team from Edinburgh, Scotland was founded with a meagre budget in November 1951 by F1 racing driver-turned entrepreneur David Murray. The outfit would go on to defy all odds by grabbing back-to-back victories at Le Mans, becoming champions in 1956 and 1957. The achievements were nothing short of remarkable. Murray’s ‘Team Scotland’ was based at Merchiston Mews, a cobble-laden lane of garages in suburban Edinburgh. Backed by fellow Scottish motor racing enthusiasts, and the talents of mechanic ‘Wilkie’ Wilkinson, the team was quickly regarded as one of the most potent forces in the country, competing at three successive F1 British Grand Prix from 1952-54. Ecurie Ecosse would depart Formula One to concentrate primarily on sportscar events from 1956.
Ecurie Ecosse Le Mans drivers Ron Flockhart and Ninian Sanderson made history in 1956 by winning the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race. The small team shook the world of motor racing as they overcame giants such as Ferrari, Lotus and Maserati to claim their laurels. The following year, the team again appeared at Le Mans and astonishingly managed to do it all again – this time securing a stunning 1-2 finish. The masterful Ron Flockhart partnered with Ivor Bueb and claimed first position, with fellow teammates Ninian Sanderson and John Lawrence coming a admirable second. Flockhart and Bueb’s distance record of 4,397km would not be surpassed until 1961. The team would go on to notch up an incredible 68 racing victories in just 10 seasons. The victories at Le Mans had captured the imagination of the British public, and their distinctive Saltire-blue metallic painted Jaguar D-Types had become icons in their own right. Edinburgh’s greatest racing team disbanded in 1972 but wouldn’t disappear for too long. The team reformed in 1982 under the astute leadership of Hugh McCaig, and would go on to taste success on a number of occasions at various major racing events.
Today the company is run by Hugh’s son, Alasdair McCaig, and he said; “I’m thrilled to partner with Building the Legend and Design Q in bringing LM69 to life. It is incredibly exciting to follow a dream and see what my forebears might have created in the late 1960s, in what is still regarded as the golden age of Le Mans”.
Building The Legend
From small beginnings in his workshop in Coventry, England, engineer Neville Swales has been quietly creating meticulously engineered cars inspired by Jaguar’s 1966 XJ13 Le Mans Prototype. That car was originally designed to return Jaguar to their glory days at Le Mans and take on the might of Ford and Ferrari. Sadly, Jaguar’s car never turned a wheel in anger. Neville’s cars take their inspiration from the 1966 Jaguar XJ13 Le Mans Prototype as it first left the Competition Department – as Malcolm Sayer envisaged it - before it was crashed at MIRA and rebuilt in 1972/73 by Jaguar apprentices.
The first completed car was a finalist in the 2016 International Historic Motoring Awards where it stood shoulder-to-shoulder against such icons as the 1966 Le Mans 24 Hours winning Ford GT40 and the 1956 Le Mans winning Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar D-Type. Neville’s first car has since been joined by a limited number of customer cars built to the same exacting standard. Recreating the gorgeous Jaguar XJ13 fired Neville’s imagination. As a huge admirer of the legendary Malcolm Sayer, a trained aerodynamicist, who helped create many iconic Jaguars under the watchful eye of Jaguar’s founder Sir William Lyons. Sayers was largely responsible for the design of Jaguars C, D & E-types before he penned the iconic XJ13. The XJ13 never finished its development due to a combination of rule changes at Le Mans, and the corporate demands upon finances when Jaguar was absorbed into the BMC behemoth.
However, Neville always harboured an ambition to design and engineer a car that would combine his knowledge and all that was great about late 1960s race cars – cars like the Ferrari 312P, the Porsche 908, the Alpine A220, the Lola T70 and the mighty Ford GT40.
Design Q, founded in 1997, is an internationally recognised,multi-award winning automotive & aviation design consultancy. CEO Howard Guy was a former Principal Designer at Jaguar from 1987 to 1997 and worked on the design of the XJ & XJR. Working alongside Neville with his design team, Howard has acted as a catalyst for this project and proposed that Neville should seek the backing and expertise of Ecurie Ecosse due to their historical involvement with Le Mans racing. Howard’s vision has led to a fantastic opportunity to create something truly unique, a car that pays homage to a phenomenal era, a brilliant race team, and the event that inspired everything, the Le Mans 24 hours.
For over 20 years, Design Q has worked with the biggest names in the car industry. Ferrari, Maserati, McLaren, Bentley, Land Rover and Jaguar are just a few. They have provided services such as Design, Engineering, CAD, Colour & Material specification, Prototype & Show Car manufacture, and High-Quality Visualisation Imagery. Design Q also undertakes bespoke design commissions for individual customers who desire their own automotive product and working directly with the client or their partners to achieve a car of their dreams. Design Q has a reputation for providing their clients with the best quality designs and imaginative solutions. The talented team of automotive designers at Design Q were tasked with designing a car that could have raced at Le Mans in 1969. With this unique brief, strict guidelines had to be set. As the car was due to race in 1969, no technology post-1968 could be used, and engineering and design influences of competitors cars up to and through the 1968 season could be adopted. FIA regulations for 1969 would have to be honoured.
The race team that will help bring this to fruition is the famous Ecurie Ecosse, the very team that brought Le Mans success to Jaguar in 1956 and 1957. 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.
Alasdair McCaig, managing director of Ecurie Ecosse, said; “When I first saw the design for LM69 I was quite overwhelmed. It is achingly beautiful, yet with the menace and purposefulness that it is designed to win the greatest race on earth! I’m sure that Jackie Oliver and Jacky Ickyx, who won the race in 1969 in their GT40, would have had a major competitor to worry about had this car been on the Le Mans grid 49 years ago. Imagine that!”
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