The Ecurie Ecosse LM69 Is A Championship Winning 1960s Endurance Racer From An Alternate Timeline
Le Mans 1966, the year that signaled the end of Ferrari’s six-year-long winning streak at the grueling 24-hour endurance race. The historic win by Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon in a Ford GT40 MkII has been well documented as have the next three outright wins by the dominant GT40… but what if things had turned out a little differently? What if the Jaguar XJ13 prototype which had been developed in 1966 was not denied its opportunity for the title due to internal politics and a change in the regulations?
History is filled with moments like these, and in most cases it’s a case of sour grapes. But Jaguar was not a new entrant with an unproven car, it had triumphed five times before (up until that point) at the Le Mans 24 Hour—the final three were back-to-back wins between 1956-1958 with famous Scottish racing team Ecurie Ecosse and driver Ron Flockhart responsible for the last two with a Jaguar D-Type.
This alternate history almost came to pass when, on a visit to the Browns Lane factory in 1967, members of Ecurie Ecosse spotted the forgotten XJ13 prototype and agreed with Jaguar on a plan to take on Ferrari and Ford in the 1969 Le Mans 24 Hours. But fate denied them and the XJ13 a chance to prove itself a second time.
Fifty years on and Ecurie Ecosse is back with the stunning LM69, the car that the team could have developed were the conditions right to do so all those decades ago. While it was built for serious competition, the brief for the LM69 was that that the design and engineering team would have to utilize design details and technology that entered motorsport no later than early 1969. It, therefore, complies with 1969 FIA homologation rules and even uses a development of the quad-cam V12 as found in the original XJ13 with a few essential technological updates.
Just 25 are planned for production—as per the 1969 FIA homologation requirements—and each car will be hand-built in the West Midlands by the most talented British craftsmen available. Pricing is estimated to be around £750,000 ($932,000) before taxes and despite being such a raw and visceral machine with zero driver aids it will also be fully road legal. While we can’t go back and pit the XJ13 against the 1969 winning GT40, the Ecurie Ecosse LM69 is as close as it gets to experience what could have been. The LM69 will be officially launched at the Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace, London on 6-8 September.
Images courtesy of Ecurie Cars