Tag Archives: Jaussaud

Le Point – Rondeau M379 B/C #003

Le Mans born Jean Rondeau had four cracks at the Le Mans 24 hours with a Chevron, Porsche (twice) and a Mazda RX3 when he decided to build his own 3 litre / 183 cui Ford Cosworth powered cars for the GTP category of the race. In 1976 and 1977 these cars known as Inatera’s the name of his wall paper manufacturing sponsor won the GTP class at Le Mans on both occasions the ’77 class win also netting drivers Rondeau and Jean Ragnotti a 4th place overall finish.

Rondeau 379B, Goodwood Festival of Speed

For 1978 Jean returned to the Le Mans circuit with a car bearing his own name for the first time and sharing his M378 with Bernard Darniche and Jacky Haran scored a third consecutive GTP class win as a manufacturer and his second as a driver coming home 9th overall from 40th on the grid.

Rondeau 379B, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Jean appeared at the 1979 race with updated M379 cars while the GTP entry he shared with Jacky Haran retired at two thirds distance with accident damage. A second car entered in the over 2 litre / 122 chi sportscar class came fifth overall and first in class piloted by well known French Rally drivers Ragnotti and Darniche. Today’s featured chassis M379 #003 came home tenth with Henri Pescarolo and Jean-Pierre Beltoise at the wheel.

Rondeau 379B, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Going into the 1980 Le Mans 24 hours on a roll of four consecutive class wins for his cars Jean upgraded the M379 to b spec and teamed up with 1978 Le Mans winner Jean Pierre Jaussaud.

Starting from fifth on a very wet grid the Le Point newspaper sponsored Rondeau maintained a steady pace through out the race while the highly fancied privately entered Porsche 908/80 driven by Jacky Ickx and Reinhold Joest was delayed by an inability to see in the rain from the open cockpit car. When the rain eased the Porsche made up time and hit the front but was then delayed for quarter of an hour when Jacky had to replace the fuel injection pump belt out on the circuit. Jacky and Reinhold had regained the lead for a second time when 18 hours into the race the Porsche required a gearbox rebuild just as the winning Porsche 936 had required in 1977.

This time when the repairs were completed the Porsche had fallen too far behind the leading Rondeau and still had a two lap deficit when the clock turned 4 pm. On the last lap on a wet circuit Jaussaud had a spin while on slicks but managed to avoid hitting anything and crossed the line first in M379 #003 to make Jean Rondeau the only man to win the Le Mans 24 hours in a car he designed and bearing his own name.

Rondeau 379C, Goodwood Festival of Speed

M379 #003 was prepared to C spec, seen above for Francoise Migault and Gordon Spice to race at Le Mans in 1981 they finished 3rd behind the GTP class winning Rondeau M379C #002 driven by Jacky Haran and Philippe Streiff and Jean-Louis Schlesser. M379C #002 had been driven to 3rd overall and 1st in GTP the previous rear by Gordon Spice and the Belgian Martin brother Jean Michele and Philippe.

Todays featured car ran at Le Mans for a fourth and final time in 1982 as a private entry for Pierre Yver, Bruno Sotty and Lucien Guitteny who started 35th and finished 10th.

Thanks for joining me on this “Le Point” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Acrylic Glass Bubble Top – Alpine A442 B #A442/3

The Alpine A442 B was the penultimate evolution of Alpines 1970’s sports car program that first came to light in 1973 when Renault sponsored the development of the 2 litre / 122 cui Renault Gordini CH1 V6 that sat in the back of the Alpine A440 sports car driven by Jean Pierre Jabouille at Magney Cours.

The following season the second evolution A441 swept the 1974 European Sportscar Championship scoring 9 wins from 9 races with Jabouille, Alain Cudini, Gérard Larrousse, and eventual champion Alain Serpaggi all wining races. over the winter of 1974/75 one of the A441’s was fitted with a turbocharged version of the CH1 V6 that had been designed by François Castaing and Jean-Pierre Boudy.

Alpine A442 B, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

At the second round of the 1975 World Sports Car Championship the turbocharged A441 made it’s debut and with Jabouille and Larrouse at the wheel became the unfancied winner beating the normally aspirated 3 litre / 183 cui Alfa Romeo and turbo charged Porsche 908 to become the first turbocharged prototype to win a World Championship. For the remainder of the 1975 season the newer Alpine A442 evolution was used but it was no match for the Championship winning Alfa Romeo.

1n 1976 Alpine continued using developing the A442 in the World Sportscar Championship but it was completely overshadowed by the new turbocharged Porsche 936 which won all seven races leaving the A442 with three second places as the best results and a distant second in the championship a position which it shared with Osella. Le Mans which was not part of the championship saw Jabouille, Patrick Tambay and Jose Dolhem qualify on pole but the single A442 entered but it retired with engine failure before half distance leaving the Porsche 936 to claim the first of three Le Mans victories.

Alpine A442 B, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

Derek Bell and Jabouille were on pole for the 1977 Le Mans 24 hour race driving today’s featured chassis #A442/3 before it had been upgraded to B spec. However none of the four A442’s finished the race, which was won by the Porsche 936 #001 featured last week, but one of the Renault Gordini CH1 V6 turbo powered Mirages did finish a distant second 11 laps in arrears.

For 1978, by which time Renault and Alpine had been fully financially integrated, a new Alpine A443 had evolved with a longer wheel base, slightly larger motor and an acrylic glass bubble roof. Drivers Jabouille and Patrick Depailler had the roof, which added around 5 mph to the cars top speed, removed because they felt claustrophobic and there was too much heat building up inside the cockpit. Even so they still qualified fastest of the Alpines at Le Mans albeit on second place on the grid behind a works Porsche 936 chassis #003 which qualified with an average speed of 147 mph by Jackie ickx. 3rd on the grid was the monstrous Porsche 935/78 known as Moby Dick with another works Porsche 936 the ’77 winner #001 alongside.

Alpine A442 B, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

Todays featured car now in B spec running with an acrylic glass roof and the standard 2 litre / 122 cui turbocharged V6 motor was 5th on the grid at Le Mans with Didier Pironi and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud sharing the driving. The A443 of Jabouille and Depailler led much of the first half of the race interrupted by a set of unbalanced front wheels until it retired with a broken motor leaving Pironi and Jassaud to take over a commanding lead which it held to the end. Pironi passed out in the heat of the cockpit after he crossed the finish line.

Two of Porsche 936’s required gearbox rebuilds after which one of them crashed and the other chassis #001 came second ahead of the third placed 936 chassis #002 which required a turbocharger replacement while the 935 Moby Dick suffered from overheating and persistent oil leaks to come home 8th.

Having accomplished what they set out to achieve with the CH1 V6 program, along with two Formula Two open wheel championships in 1975 and 1976, Renault retired the Alpines from Sports car racing to concentrated all of it’s efforts on Formula One where it ran the first turbo charged Formula One car in 1977.

In 1979 Renault would become the first team to win a Formula One race with a turbo charged 1.5 litre 91.5 cui Renault Gordini EF1 motor at the French Grand Prix, which by coincidence was the race before the British Grand Prix where today’s photo’s were taken of #A442/3 in the paddock at Silverstone.

My thanks to Tim Murray for helping to identify the winning chassis of the 1975 Mugello 1000kms race which was widely reported to have been an Alpine A442 in contemporary journals like Motoring News but which contemporary photographs show the A441 development car.

Thanks for joining me on this “Acrylic Glass Bubble Top” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now.