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  Duckhams LM Cosworth

  Article Image gallery (44) LM-1 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:1972
Numbers built:1
Designed by:Gordon Murray
Successor:De Cadenet-Lola T380 Cosworth
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:November 25, 2015
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Click here to download printer friendly versionA substantial change in the regulations dramatically reduced the number of cars capable of winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1972. With little chance of acquiring a works Alfa Romeo, Ferrari or Matra prototype, gentleman racer Alain de Cadenet instead opted to commission the construction of a sports racer of his own. He obtained substantial backing from the Duckhams oil company and asked up-and-coming Formula 1 designer Gordon Murray to pen its lines.

Considering that the new regulations, including the three-litre displacement limit were very close to Formula 1's, it an inspired choice to ask Murray to create the car. Known as the Duckhams LM, it was very much a two-seater version of the Brabham created by Murray at his day job. It was built around an aluminium monocoque chassis, which used a Cosworth DFV engine as a fully stressed member. The fibreglass body fitted was thoroughly modern and had very short overhangs and slab sides.

Partnering with Chris Craft, De Cadenet debuted the Duckhams at Le Mans in 1972. The pairing qualified a promising 11th and eventually crossed the line in 12th. The car was then shipped to the United States, where it was entered in the World Championship and Can-Am round at Watkins, which were held on the same weekend. In the 6 Hours, De Cadenet was joined by Martin Birrane but the two retired early with an engine issue. The problem persisted the following day as De Cadenet also retired from the Can-Am race.

The unique Duckhams was not raced again until Le Mans the following year. Once again shared by Craft and De Cadenet, it now featured a longer nose and tail to help it achieve higher top speeds on the track's famous straights. A clutch issue ended the race early. For 1974, the car was rechristened the De Cadenet LM and raced at Le Mans for a third time. Craft was joined by John Nicholson but an accident ended their charge early. Earlier that year De Cadenet had finished fifth in the car during the Silverstone Interserie round.

De Cadenet replaced the ageing Duckhams in 1975 with a brand new car built for him by Lola. It was not the end of the machine's racing career as it would go on to form the basis for the Volkswagen 'DFVW' silhouette racer. Fortunately, it has since been restored back to its original configuration.

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  Article Image gallery (44) LM-1 Specifications