Page 1 of 2 Next >> The Gulf-backed John Wyer Automotive (JWA) team was undoubtedly the most successful private entrant with outright Le Mans wins in 1968, 1969 and 1975. After the third victory, John Wyer sold his operation to American Harley Cluxton, who owned Grand Touring Cars Inc, the Ferrari and Maserati importer in Scottsdale, Arizona. Between 1976 and 1979, the rechristened GTC team fielded continuously updated examples of the existing, Le Mans winning, design.
The arrival of the all-new Group C and GTP regulations in 1982 prompted Cluxton to commission the design and construction of the first brand new Mirage since the early 1970s. Tasked to construct the cars was Howden Ganley's Tiga Racing Cars in England. The body was developed in the United States using the Lockheed Aerospace windtunnel. One of the few survivors of the Wyer days, team manager John Horsman had the responsibility to oversee this seemingly complicated build process.
The new Mirage M12 was constructed around a bonded aluminium honeycomb monocoque chassis. Suspension was by double wishbones and pull-rods at the front while the rear-end featured lower wishbones and top rockers. The reason to mount many of the suspension components in-board was to make as much room as possible for the ground-effect tunnels that ran on either side of the engine. This engine was the latest Cosworth DFL (long stroke) V8, good for 540 bhp.
Upon arrival in the United States, the first two rolling chassis were married to the American-built bodies, which fitted remarkably well. Designed specifically for the long straights at Le Mans, the M12 body was broad and low, and featured spats over the rear wheels to further reduce drag. The panels were constructed from fibreglass and Kevlar, while a single element carbon-fibre rear wing was also fitted. The all-new Mirage tipped the scales at just 809 kg, which meant it was lighter than Porsche's new 956. Page 1 of 2 Next >>