The Ex-Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Jean-Louis Lafosse/Francois Migault – Le Mans 3rd place 1975 – 2nd place 1976,1974-75 Gulf-Cosworth GR8 Endurance Racing Sports-Prototype  Chassis no. 802 Engine no. DFV 941

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Lot 238
The Ex-Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Jean-Louis Lafosse/Francois Migault – Le Mans 3rd place 1975 – 2nd place 1976, 1974-75 Gulf-Cosworth GR8 Endurance Racing Sports-Prototype
Chassis no. 802 Engine no. DFV 941

US$ 1,300,000 - 1,600,000£ 1,000,000 - 1,300,000
The Ex-Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Jean-Louis Lafosse/Francois Migault – Le Mans 3rd place 1975 – 2nd place 1976
1974-75 Gulf-Cosworth GR8 Endurance Racing Sports-Prototype
Chassis no. 802
Engine no. DFV 941
Here we offer for sale a most significant mid-1970s Le Mans sports-prototype—the Gulf Research Racing-built Gulf-Cosworth GR8—chassis '802'—which was driven by Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud into third place in the Le Mans 24-Hours classic of 1975. The Gulf program was then taken over by Harley Cluxton's well-known Grand Touring Cars Inc operation and '802' in GTC livery was co-driven at Le Mans in 1976 by Jean-Louis Lafosse/Francois Migault to finish second in France's fabulous annual Grand Prix d'Endurance. As if this would not be sufficient race history for any modern classic, '802' offered here then finished second again at Le Mans in 1977 when Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jarier drove the car, which had been re-equipped with a turbocharged Renault V6 engine. Still '802' soldiered on, entered by GTC, returning to Le Mans in 1978 to finish 10th co-driven by Vern Schuppan/Jacques Laffite/Sam Posey. Back at the Sarthe circuit for the fifth time in 1979, once more powered by a Cosworth-Ford V8 engine, chassis '802' – co-driven by Schuppan/David Hobbs/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud – for the first time failed to finish.

During this extraordinary career, '802' was variously titled as the Gulf-GR8 (1975), Mirage-Ford M8 (1976), Mirage-Renault M8 (1977), Mirage-Renault M9 (1978) and Mirage-Ford M10 (1979) so please forgive us the simple title used for this Lot. Yet beneath the skin – Grand Touring Cars Inc principal Harley Cluxton assures us - it was all essentially the same individual chassis structure, eventually sold to German collector Peter Kaus, displayed within his Rosso Bianco Collection in GR8 form, and now offered here.

Original constructor Gulf Research Racing was the natural descendant of the legendary Gulf-JW Automotive racing team which had achieved such enormous World Championship-winning success from 1967-1974. During that period, with the management team of John Wyer, David Yorke, Arnold Stafford, and the engineering direction of ex-Aston Martin Works team member John Horsman, the Gulf-JW organization had masterminded world title success with Ford GT40 and Porsche 917 and 908/3 cars.

They had also campaigned the long series of Mirage endurance racing prototypes, beginning with the reduced-frontal-area Mirage M1 version of the GT40 as early as 1967. By 1972 after the withdrawal of the Porsche 917s, the Gulf Oil-sponsored JW team turned to racing 3-liter BRM and Cosworth-Ford engined Mirage cars designed for them by consultant Len Terry. The line of Gulf-Mirage sports-prototypes evolved through 1972-73 into the Gulf-Mirage M6 open-cockpit sports-prototype model, in which Derek Bell/Mike Hailwood/Howden Ganley and Vern Schuppan shared the driving of two cars between them to finish first and second in the 1973 Spa 1,000Kms classic. This great performance achieved the first Mirage victory in a World Championship-qualifying endurance race since the Ford-based Mirage M1 had won at the same circuit in 1967.

For 1974 the British-based team fielded 'Gulf-Mirage' GR7 sports-prototypes, one of which finished fourth at Le Mans co-driven by Bell/Hailwood/Schuppan. For the 1975 season, the Gulf Oil company wanted rather more prominent brand promotion than hitherto, and so the overall 'Mirage' name was dropped, and as Gulf Research Racing they introduced Gulf GR8 model now offered here into a motor racing world that was in deep recession...

The team ignored the year's World Championship series to concentrate instead upon the great individual prize of Le Mans. This was to be John Wyer's swansong as team leader, although his long-time technical lieutenant John Horsman played a more hands-on role during the race. The GR8 offered here was absolutely tailor-designed to meet the contemporary regulations. Engineer Len Bailey—of Ford GT40 and P68/69 fame—had designed the original Mirage M6 chassis, which formed the basis of the replacement GR7. For Le Mans 1975 John Horsman recalls:

"We wanted a longer body to reduce drag and Len drew a new chassis with 6-inch-longer wheelbase, giving more room for things like oil tanks. JW and I sketched the body shape, and our machinist, Brian Holland, made a ¼-scale clay body shape to the sketch. We made a few minor changes before the model was sent to FKS Fiberglass in Poole who made the panels.

Despite a rather large frontal area the GR8 was a pretty good shape, with a low drag coefficient and (for its day) good downforce from the rear wing. It was a good car for Le Mans, easy to drive, with no vices. We had modified various areas to lower the fuel consumption to meet Le Mans' required minimum 20-lap distance between refueling stops. In fact we went too far as the car could do 22 laps...but it's nice to have a safety cushion in a 24 hour race."

Apart from its very effective, high-tailed, low-drag body shape, the endurance-tuned version of the 3-liter Formula 1 Cosworth-Ford DFV V8 engine which powered the Gulf GR8 was set to develop maximum performance at around 8,300rpm instead of the 10,400-plus commonly used in Grand Prix 'sprint' racing. One Gulf GR8 was prepared for Jacky Ickx/Derek Bell to drive, while the other—chassis '802' offered here—was entrusted to Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud.

From the start of the 24-Hours, Vern Schuppan and Derek Bell were able to draw away from Reinhold Jost's Porsche to establish an early lead. After the first round of driver changes, with former Matra team driver Jaussaud at the wheel '802' was forced into the pits from second place, losing 25 minutes while alternator and other electrical problems were corrected. The car resumed the race in fifth place.

Through the brief night, '802' soared back into contention, trading places with the Jost/Casoni/Barth Porsche 908/3 turbocharged car after it had struck a backmarker at Mulsanne Corner and itself lost a half-hour in the pits. By half-distance the Ickx/Bell GR8—chassis '801'—was holding a commanding six-lap lead from teammates Schuppan/Jaussaud in '802' holding second place. But on the Sunday morning Jaussaud began to experience severe vibration from the rear of this car, and lost time in repeated stops for attention. The car was restored to good health and '802' re-established itself in second position, only to experience further problems which permitted the Lafosse/Chasseuil/Beltoise Ligier JS2 to catch it. Their duel for second place became a tortoise and hare affair, with the Gulf GR8 re-emerging from the pits to catch and repass the slower Ligier repeatedly.

With four hours to go rain began to fall, and this became so heavy it began to create further problems for the Gulf car's electrical system. With one hour to run the long-time leading Ickx/Bell GR8 suffered a broken exhaust which required repair in the pits. Its once impregnable four-lap lead diminished to only two before the car rejoined the race, but Jacky Ickx was able to stave off the Ligier to achieve the second Le Mans victory for himself and for the Gulf team, and the first of many for Derek Bell. This car—'802'—survived to finish third, completing a memorable (and nail-biting) 1-3 success for the John Wyer Gulf team.

Contemporary team record sheets preserved in the documentation file accompanying this car record numerous technical details of its contemporary set-up for that classic race, the body configuration for example being described as "1975 body. Louvers on front wheel arches—Front blade extended 3-inches—NACA 4412 Aerofoil at 1.5° with flap at 18°". Even the anti-roll bar selection is recorded: "F. 7/8-inch x 12g - R. 7/8-inch x 8g". The DFV engine's fuel injection metering unit cam was "...set at .073-inch at 1FFL and .002-inch closed throttle (at FL)". The car completed 330 laps, 4,504.881kms in the 24-Hours, an average speed of 187.703km/h.

For 1976 the Gulf Research Racing team's hardware, and several key personnel, became part of a new operation taken over by Arizona-based businessman Harley Cluxton. Once more under the technical direction of John Horsman, the former Gulf GR8s were taken back to Le Mans, the 1975 winning car being driven by Bell/Schuppan and this car— '802'—by the strong French pairing of Jean-Louis Lafosse/Francois Migault.

The experienced drivers refused to be drawn into the opening-hours' 'Grand Prix' racing, and steadily moved up the leader board. By the middle of the night the GR8s emerged as the only serious surviving threat to the leading Porsches. At dawn this car driven by Lafosse/Migault was running in a solid third place, the other Cluxton GR8 having been delayed by an alternator replacement to lie fifth. Both Mirages later suffered fuel pump problems, but '802' was able to retake and retain second place behind the dominant works Porsche 936 sports-prototype of Jacky Ickx/Gijs van Lennep. With barely 15 minutes left to run, '802's bodywork came adrift and panels blew off. A hasty pit-stop saw the missing panels replaced, but this tense and dramatic pit stop was then extended by the engine's refusal to restart. To the relief of every team member, it finally spluttered, then barked back into deafening life, and so after its third place Le Mans finish the previous year, '802' was driven home into second place this time round.

The documentation accompanying this Lot records that during the race '802' had "Throttle return spring replaced—Lucas electric high pressure pump replaced—rear panel safety locking pin failed—wear in metering unit linkage—bell-housing R.H. top ear broken—2 ZF casing long studs—exhaust nuts loose and missing—Champion G56R plugs seriously eroded—Metering unit plunger travel increased from .073-inches to .079-inches".

John Horsman recalls:

"The Cosworth DFV engine had been designed as an integral chassis member for Formula 1, forming the rear half of the car structure. But, from our original Mirage M6, Len Bailey wisely included three-tube braces along each side. Over 24 hours the DFV's inherent vibration was very destructive. At Le Mans in 1975 it fractured the engine's lower mounting blocks, putting all the rear-end load onto Len's tripod frames on each side. This light steel framework then held both our cars together during the last half of the race. Otherwise they would literally have collapsed in half like a torpedoed ship! This lower mounting was remade in steel for the '76 race and both cars finished without trouble in that area."

Vern Schuppan later drove a GR8 to finish fifth in the Canadian 200-Miles at Mosport, headed by the winner, Jackie Oliver, in a Shadow-Chevrolet DN4, with George Follmer's McLaren M20 second, Jackie Ickx's Porsche 936 third and Patrick Depailler's factory Alpine-Renault A442 Turbo fourth. The Gulf-Cosworth GR8 ran in fine company...but into 1976 World Championship sports car racing effectively died.

On November 27, 1987, this magnificent Gulf-Cosworth GR8—with Cosworth-Ford DFV V8 engine number 'DFV 941'—was sold direct from Harley Cluxton's Grand Touring Cars Inc. of Scottsdale, Arizona, to the German collector Peter Kaus for his Rosso Bianco Collection in Aschaffenburg. The car remained within that Collection—carefully preserved in 1975 liveried condition — until 2008.

Now this is a shining opportunity to buy into the charisma of the rarefied Gulf-Mirage marque, and to obtain an intensely practical, useable and potentially race-winning 'modern era' Historic sports-prototype car of true quality – and what's more, one with an immensely respectable five-times Le Mans 24-Hour racing record. It is, truly, a cut above your average sports-prototype.
The Ex-Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Jean-Louis Lafosse/Francois Migault – Le Mans 3rd place 1975 – 2nd place 1976,1974-75 Gulf-Cosworth GR8 Endurance Racing Sports-Prototype  Chassis no. 802 Engine no. DFV 941
The Ex-Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Jean-Louis Lafosse/Francois Migault – Le Mans 3rd place 1975 – 2nd place 1976,1974-75 Gulf-Cosworth GR8 Endurance Racing Sports-Prototype  Chassis no. 802 Engine no. DFV 941
The Ex-Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Jean-Louis Lafosse/Francois Migault – Le Mans 3rd place 1975 – 2nd place 1976,1974-75 Gulf-Cosworth GR8 Endurance Racing Sports-Prototype  Chassis no. 802 Engine no. DFV 941
The Ex-Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Jean-Louis Lafosse/Francois Migault – Le Mans 3rd place 1975 – 2nd place 1976,1974-75 Gulf-Cosworth GR8 Endurance Racing Sports-Prototype  Chassis no. 802 Engine no. DFV 941
The Ex-Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Jean-Louis Lafosse/Francois Migault – Le Mans 3rd place 1975 – 2nd place 1976,1974-75 Gulf-Cosworth GR8 Endurance Racing Sports-Prototype  Chassis no. 802 Engine no. DFV 941
The Ex-Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Jean-Louis Lafosse/Francois Migault – Le Mans 3rd place 1975 – 2nd place 1976,1974-75 Gulf-Cosworth GR8 Endurance Racing Sports-Prototype  Chassis no. 802 Engine no. DFV 941
The Ex-Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Jean-Louis Lafosse/Francois Migault – Le Mans 3rd place 1975 – 2nd place 1976,1974-75 Gulf-Cosworth GR8 Endurance Racing Sports-Prototype  Chassis no. 802 Engine no. DFV 941
The Ex-Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Jean-Louis Lafosse/Francois Migault – Le Mans 3rd place 1975 – 2nd place 1976,1974-75 Gulf-Cosworth GR8 Endurance Racing Sports-Prototype  Chassis no. 802 Engine no. DFV 941
The Ex-Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Jean-Louis Lafosse/Francois Migault – Le Mans 3rd place 1975 – 2nd place 1976,1974-75 Gulf-Cosworth GR8 Endurance Racing Sports-Prototype  Chassis no. 802 Engine no. DFV 941
The Ex-Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Jean-Louis Lafosse/Francois Migault – Le Mans 3rd place 1975 – 2nd place 1976,1974-75 Gulf-Cosworth GR8 Endurance Racing Sports-Prototype  Chassis no. 802 Engine no. DFV 941
The Ex-Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Jean-Louis Lafosse/Francois Migault – Le Mans 3rd place 1975 – 2nd place 1976,1974-75 Gulf-Cosworth GR8 Endurance Racing Sports-Prototype  Chassis no. 802 Engine no. DFV 941
The Ex-Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Jean-Louis Lafosse/Francois Migault – Le Mans 3rd place 1975 – 2nd place 1976,1974-75 Gulf-Cosworth GR8 Endurance Racing Sports-Prototype  Chassis no. 802 Engine no. DFV 941
The Ex-Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Jean-Louis Lafosse/Francois Migault – Le Mans 3rd place 1975 – 2nd place 1976,1974-75 Gulf-Cosworth GR8 Endurance Racing Sports-Prototype  Chassis no. 802 Engine no. DFV 941
The Ex-Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Jean-Louis Lafosse/Francois Migault – Le Mans 3rd place 1975 – 2nd place 1976,1974-75 Gulf-Cosworth GR8 Endurance Racing Sports-Prototype  Chassis no. 802 Engine no. DFV 941
The Ex-Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Jean-Louis Lafosse/Francois Migault – Le Mans 3rd place 1975 – 2nd place 1976,1974-75 Gulf-Cosworth GR8 Endurance Racing Sports-Prototype  Chassis no. 802 Engine no. DFV 941
The Ex-Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Jean-Louis Lafosse/Francois Migault – Le Mans 3rd place 1975 – 2nd place 1976,1974-75 Gulf-Cosworth GR8 Endurance Racing Sports-Prototype  Chassis no. 802 Engine no. DFV 941
The Ex-Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Jean-Louis Lafosse/Francois Migault – Le Mans 3rd place 1975 – 2nd place 1976,1974-75 Gulf-Cosworth GR8 Endurance Racing Sports-Prototype  Chassis no. 802 Engine no. DFV 941
The Ex-Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Jean-Louis Lafosse/Francois Migault – Le Mans 3rd place 1975 – 2nd place 1976,1974-75 Gulf-Cosworth GR8 Endurance Racing Sports-Prototype  Chassis no. 802 Engine no. DFV 941
The Ex-Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Jean-Louis Lafosse/Francois Migault – Le Mans 3rd place 1975 – 2nd place 1976,1974-75 Gulf-Cosworth GR8 Endurance Racing Sports-Prototype  Chassis no. 802 Engine no. DFV 941
The Ex-Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Jean-Louis Lafosse/Francois Migault – Le Mans 3rd place 1975 – 2nd place 1976,1974-75 Gulf-Cosworth GR8 Endurance Racing Sports-Prototype  Chassis no. 802 Engine no. DFV 941
The Ex-Vern Schuppan/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Jean-Louis Lafosse/Francois Migault – Le Mans 3rd place 1975 – 2nd place 1976,1974-75 Gulf-Cosworth GR8 Endurance Racing Sports-Prototype  Chassis no. 802 Engine no. DFV 941
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