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  Courage LC70 Mugen      

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Country of origin:France
Produced in:2006
Internal name:LC70
Designed by:Paolo Catone / Ben Wood for Courage Competition
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:May 08, 2006
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Click here to download printer friendly versionFounded in 1981, Courage Competition was primarily setup to provide team boss Yves Courage with a car to race in the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans race. The company's creations were evocatively named 'Cougar' and when the initial Cosworth engines were replaced by Porsche flat sixes; a number of class wins were recorded. From 1993 onwards the cars were rebranded Courage, but that by no means affected the performance. A second place finish in the 1995 Le Mans is still the team's best result to date.

With the change in name also came a change in policy; Courage now took up supplying chassis to privateer teams. To design the car, they hired Paole Catone who had previously designed the Le Mans winning Peugeots. The cars were raced in the second half of the 1990s in North America by privateers and in Europe by Courage Competition and the newly formed Pescarolo Sport. At Le Mans the cars showed Courage's vast experience on that track with a number of top-ten finishes, but on other track the company's lack of experience with high downforce tracks and lack of development prevented good results from being scored.

Courage and Catone started with a clean sheet for the Courage C60 model that would see the company into the 21st century. It was again obvious that the main target was Le Mans, but there was a more development high downforce setup available as well. Continuous development saw the introduction of the LMP675 / LMP2 C65 variant in 2003 and the C60 Hybrid LMP1 car for 2005. Especially the C65 proved successful, racking up class victorious at Le Mans and in various LMES races. Pescarolo Sport bought two C60 chassis as well, but has since independently developed their cars with the help of Andre de Cortanze. In 2005 the Pescarolo Courage finished second at Le Mans and claimed the LMES title.

For the 2006 season it was time for the third Cantone/Courage 'clean sheet' design. Because of the way the current LMP1/2 regulations are drawn up, it was possible for Courage to design a car that could be used in both classes without compromising too much. While Courage's first designs following the new aerodynamic regulations were not very well liked, the LC70 and LC75 are very good looking cars, proving that a LMP1/2 does not have to be ugly as was initially feared. The most striking features are the pointy double roll-hoop structure and the pointy rear fenders.

First to take to the track was the LC70 LMP1 car with the works car powered by an all new Mugen V8 and the Swiss Spirit privateer effort equipped with the latest 5-litre Judd V10. Sadly at the first competition appearances in the Paul Ricard test and the Istanbul 1000 km new car gremlins prevented the two LC70s from performing as good as they look. With proper development work the French prototype should be more competitive.

Featured is the works Mugen powered LC70 in the works colours at Paul Ricard and the Advan sponsor colours at Istanbul. With the three year Mugen engine deal, the French manufacturer continuous to build on its relationship with Japanese suppliers. Now displacing 4.5 litre, the Mugen engine should be more competitive than ever, although it could be let down by the inevitable vibrations caused by the V8 layout. In its first outings the Mugen Courage has not proven to be very reliable yet.

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  Article Image gallery (63) Specifications