Matra MS80

Matra MS80

by Luca Dal Monte

Deployed on the track by the Matra International team, a joint venture between the French manufacturer and Ken Tyrrell’s British team, the MS80 enables Jackie Stewart to clinch his first World Championship title in 1969. Along with the Drivers’ title comes the Constructors’ title.

The car’s development itself is a sort of joint venture as the design and construction of the racecar take place in Vélizy-Villacoublay, in the south-western suburbs of Paris, where Matra’s sporting activities are based. However, the engine, the tried and tested and reliable Ford-Cosworth V8, is mounted on the MS80 in England, at Tyrrell’s workshop in East Horsley near Ripley, Surrey.

Matra MS80 Image 1


Jackie Stewart: Jackie Stewart’s 1969 season is extraordinary – and it begins with a victory in the opening race at Kyalami, driving the previous model. In Stewart’s hands, the MS80 is unbeatable. Jackie takes it to victory in the debut race, the Spanish Grand Prix at the Montijuich circuit in Barcelona. Then, after retiring in Monaco, Stewart captures three consecutive wins at Zandvoort, Clermont-Ferrand, and Silverstone. At the Nürburgring, Jackie has to ‘settle’ for second place. But with his sixth victory of the season (the fifth driving the MS80) at Monza, Jackie clinches the world championship with three races to go.

Jean-Pierre Beltoise: In his second full season in Formula 1, the Frenchman doesn’t disappoint. Stewart is unstoppable even for him. However, Beltoise finishes second on the podium in the French Grand Prix and third in the Spanish and Italian Grand Prix. At the end of the season, with 21 points, he ranks fifth in the Championship standings.

Our model cars:

Matra MS80 Image 2

Designed by Gérard Ducarouge and Bernard Boyer, the MS80 is one of the first Formula 1 cars to be directly designed with wings. Its most prominent feature is the tapered shape of the rear bodywork, which is colloquially referred to as a “Coca-Cola bottle shape.” The main reason for this aspect of the bodywork is the relocation of the fuel tank, which in the previous model was behind the driver and is now positioned in the side pods, alongside the driver. The rocker arm front suspension is replaced with external springs.

The MS80’s track record is exceptional. The car participated in ten races, all in the 1969 season, winning five of them, reaching the podium four more times, securing two pole positions, and setting five fastest laps during races. To date, aside from Ferrari, thanks to the MS80, Matra – albeit in a joint venture with Ken Tyrrell, who is naturally English – is the only non-British team to have won the Constructors’ World Championship title.

Matra MS80 Image 3