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Ecurie Ecosse plots 2014 Le Mans return
Legendary race team Ecurie Ecosse - a double-winner of Le Mans in the 1950s - is planning a 2014 return to the race that made it famous. This makes us happy.
Why? Because Ecurie Ecosse is a classic Scottish racing outfit that took back-to-back titles in the mid 1950s, securing outright victories at the 1956 and 1957 24hrs in a Jaguar D-Type.
Now the team - under new management - is plotting a return to the GTE class for next year’s race that will resurrect the classic blue colours at the French circuit.
TG.com spoke to one of the drivers, Joe Twyman, who told us the team - having already taken wins in 2012 and 2013 in British GT, Blancpain and the European Le Mans Series - has secured a little funding to tackle the greatest endurance race on the planet.
Joe was also one of the drivers on Rush, and has raced in historic F1 and touring cars, taking wins at Goodwood and Monaco. “We aren’t just making up the numbers,” he told us. “Ecurie Ecosse is returning because of four friends who wanted to take the team back to Le Mans.”
The other three are Olly Bryant, Andrew Smith and Alasdair McCaig. It was Alasdair’s dad Hugh who resurrected Ecurie Ecosse in the 1980s with some success: the team won the 1986 C2 class of the World Sportscar Championship, and raced Cavaliers in the BTCC in the early 90s.
“Hugh keeps an eye on things but lets us get on with the day to day running of Ecurie,” Joe told us. “Ultimately one day the team will be Alasdair’s so I think Hugh gets great pleasure from seeing us take on the challenges and financial side of things, and then coming on the weekends to see us race”.
In the last few years the team has run a 515bhp BMW Z4 GT3 (pictured above), and also campaigned an Aston Martin DBRS9 at Spa in 2011. “Had we not been delayed with a few engine issues, we would have probably been top five in Pro Am,” says Twyman. But Ecurie Ecosse is yet to figure out what they’ll race at Le Mans.
“We can’t run a GTE BMW, as they only exist for the American series, so we’re in talks with a number of manufacturers and are weighing up our options for 2014.”
Twyman admits the shadow of those 50s Le Mans wins bears heavily on Ecurie Ecosse’s shoulders. “We all know where we have come from,” he says. “It’s a long way back to 1956 and 1957, but we wouldn’t be doing Le Mans to make up the numbers. Essentially if we have the right ingredients to do things properly then we will do a good job. We’ll be going as underdogs against the works team; essentially what Ecosse did in the 50s, 60s and 80s. It would be nice to give them a bit of a surprise.”
What would be an even nicer surprise is the resurrection of that achingly cool Ecurie Ecosse transporter. Can we expect that to return too? “It’s up for sale, sadly, and will go under the hammer in December at the Bonhams auction. It’s owned by a private collector - we know him well - but our BMW Z4 is probably too wide to fit on the back…”
A shame, but fingers crossed for the chaps…