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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:1974
Numbers built:4
Designed by:Len Bailey
Predecessor:Mirage M6 Cosworth
Successor:Mirage GR8 Cosworth
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:January 27, 2010
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Click here to download printer friendly versionWith the Porsche 917 banned for 1972, the Gulf Oil backed John Wyer Automotive team was back on its own again. They were no strangers to building cars of their own design, so it was no surprise that John Wyer commissioned the construction of the new Mirage M6. In many respects it continued where the Mirage M3 used in 1969 had left off. The M6 was built to the same 3-litre prototype regulations and also used the readily available Cosworth DFV V8 engine. There were also some major changes as Wyer semi-retired with John Horsman taking over the day to day operations and the team was renamed Gulf Research Racing Company.

Hired to design the new Mirage prototype racer was Len Bailey, who had been involved with Wyer during the Ford GT40 and Mirage M1 days. He drew up a bonded and riveted aluminium monocoque with steel bulkheads for reinforcements. The Formula 1 sourced Cosworth engine and Hewland gearbox served as fully stressed members of the chassis. The V8 was de-tuned for reliability reasons but still produced well over 400 bhp. Suspension was by double wishbones at the front and parallel links with twin-radius arms at the rear. The ventilated disc brakes were mounted out-board on both ends. Once completed, the rolling chassis was clothed in a smooth fibreglass body topped off by a high rear wing.

In March of 1972 the first chassis was completed and briefly tested by Derek Bell ahead of its debut in the Sebring 12 Hours less than a fortnight later. The main opposition came from the Italian Ferrari and Alfa Romeo teams both of whom had already been racing their three-litre cars for a season. Another serious rival was the fellow Cosworth engined Lola T280, which had made its debut earlier in the year. The Gulf team sent a single Mirage M6 to Florida for Bell and 1971 Le Mans winner Gijs van Lennep to drive. They qualified seventh fastest between the six Italian cars but ahead of the DFV Lola. The brand new Mirage suffered several teething problems from very early, requiring lengthy repairs. The car eventually only completed 48 laps.

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  Article Image gallery (81) Chassis (2) Specifications