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  Courage C60 Hybrid Judd
 

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Country of origin:France
Produced in:2005
Designed by:Paolo Catone
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:December 19, 2005
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Click here to download printer friendly versionIn an era when sportscar racing was dominated by big works teams, Yves Courage set up shop near the Le Mans track to build and prepare his own cars specifically for the annual 24 Hours race down the road. Dubbed the Cougar C01, it made its debut on the track in 1982. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s Le Mans remained the main focus of the Courage team, resulting in excellent low downforce racers. When the team expanded to the world championship, it was faced with a lot of problems on tracks requiring a higher downforce setting.

Ten years later Courage is a leading independent sports prototype manufacturer. In an era dominated by the works Audi and Bentley racers, Courage cars have often picked up the 'best of the rest' result. New regulations to increase safety and cut costs were introduced in 2004, but the teams are allowed to run their cars with restrictions to the end of the 2005 season and as a hybrid to the end of 2006. In the new setup prototype racers are divided in two classes; LMP 1 and LMP 2, intended for high profile works teams and privateers respectively.

With the C65, Courage were the first to introduce a new car to fully comply with the LMP 2 regulations. Although it ran as a LMP 675 car in 2003, it was specifically designed for the new class. As per the LMP 2 rules, the C65 features a symmetrical roll over structure and a floorpan with regulated tunnels starting well before the rear wheel line, and the engine is mounted as a non stressed member. The carbon fibre tub is pretty much carried over from the successful C60 LMP 900 racer. A number of engines are available to be fitted in the spacious engine bay of the C65.

At the Le Mans test day in April 2004, five C65s were present, two of which were on the reserve list. Two cars were equipped with the Turbocharged 2 litre MG/AER engine and the other three featured the Naturally Aspirated JPX V6 engine. In the 24 Hours race two cars retired with engine problems and the other crashed out. In the remainder of the season the two AER engined cars were campaigned in the Le Mans Endurance Series (LMES), with three LMP 2 class victories in four races as a result.

Encouraging the introduction of racers complying with the upcoming regulations, older racers were handycapped for 2005 with additional weight and smaller restrictors. The teams were given the opportunity to convert the aero kit of their current cars to comply with the current regulations while retaining the chassis; these 'hybrids' were allowed to run without the weight and restrictor penalties. With the C65 bodypanels readily available, it was easy for Courage to convert their C60 LMP 900 racer into a LMP1 hybrid.

Livered in a very attractive blue paint scheme, the Courage C60 Hybrid debuted in the 2005 Spa 1000 km race, part of the Le Mans Endurance Series (LMES). It was campaigned throughout the season, but it was outpaced by the lightning fast Pescarolo Hybrid and Zyteks, and ultra reliable Audi R8. The French team finished seventh in the championship. For Le Mans a second chassis was entered, livered in the tire supplier Advan's colours. The first car finished eight, whereas the other failed to make it past midnight.

Pictured are the two cars in action at the Spa and Monza rounds of the LMES and at the Le Mans test day.

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  Article Image gallery (12) Specifications