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Merak engine racing success?

Discussion in 'Maserati' started by Ferraripilot, Nov 2, 2007.

  1. Ferraripilot

    Ferraripilot F1 World Champ
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    Hey everyone,

    I know the Merak engine was raced by the Ligier-Maserati team at LeMans in the '70s with a custom 4 valve head (330bhp), but I do not know if it raced anywhere else, and with what success. I heard that it either won its' class as Lemans, or it just finished Lemans. Does anyone have any info on these cars?

    JS
     
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  3. Nembo1777

    Nembo1777 F1 Veteran
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    The engines turned blue from overheating on the Mulsanne straight.

    If you ask the French.....they will say the engines could not cope.

    If you ask the Italians.....they will say the Ligier did not provide adequate engine cooling.

    Ahh and don't forget the charms of doing research on Italian cars: question two people on one event and you will get three versions. Three people and you get four versions. Yes that's right, it is all part of the comedia dell'arte.....;-)
     
  4. wbaeumer

    wbaeumer F1 Veteran
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    And not to forget the endless discussions about the differences of the Italian and French cusin. I love the Italians...!

    Ciao!
    Walter
     
  5. wbaeumer

    wbaeumer F1 Veteran
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    The man "in charge" for the Ligier cars is Thierry Lesparre. You can contact him via his email:

    tlesparre@yahoo.com

    Ciao!
    Walter
     
  6. Ferraripilot

    Ferraripilot F1 World Champ
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    Are these cars still running in any vintage races, or are the cars and engines seperated, no where to ever be found again?

    I will email Thierry. Thanks!
     
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  8. Nembo1777

    Nembo1777 F1 Veteran
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    Yes very true.

    I saw one of these Ligiers at the Dijon coupe de l'age d'Or vintage meet summer 2005.

    At least one of these engines is in the Pannini museum near Modena.

    They did do a lot of work but the whole programme was underfunded and hurried, not the serene circumstances that would have been needed.
     
  9. Ferraripilot

    Ferraripilot F1 World Champ
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    OK I heard from Thierry and I did some research on my own. The engine sounds utterly fascinating.

    The 3.0l V6 had gear driven cams, 4 valve heads, fuel injection, and supposedly produced 380bhp at an astronomical 11,000RPM. Alfieri designed the engine, and I was told that whenever there was an engine issue, the engine was simply sent back to Maserati. That engine must scream!

    The JS2 completed 310 laps and finished 8th overall at the 1974 Lemans ahead of a Ferrari 312 P, a few Porsche RSRs, and a couple Daytona's to name a few.

    Very impressive car. If anyone knows any more, or has any photos of the engine, I would be very interested in seeing them. The 4 valve engine has not photographic evidence, and the Maserati archives are in somewhat of a disarray I hear.
     
  10. wbaeumer

    wbaeumer F1 Veteran
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    I have such engine for sale! Test-benched by the Factory then and never driven in a car!

    Ciao!
    Walter
     
  11. Ferraripilot

    Ferraripilot F1 World Champ
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    Can you post any photos? I am very curious. PM sent
     
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  13. staatsof

    staatsof Seven Time F1 World Champ
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    Well then there's not much "Merak" left in that engine. Those are pretty astounding mods. I wonder if it would fit and bolt up in a Merak?
     
  14. Ferraripilot

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    If the mounts are the same, I do not see why not. They used the same transmission.
     
  15. wbaeumer

    wbaeumer F1 Veteran
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    It fits! I have copies of the test-run on a factory-dyno. They got 400 hp out of it! This will get every merak into Orbit!!!

    Ciao!
    Walter
     
  16. Nembo1777

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    Yes but vodka fits into a baby's mouth too...

    Some comments about an unrelated go faster Merak study will bring forth what I am getting at:

    The reason why the Merak turbo prototype -this was unrelated to the engine discussed above-was not put in production, according to Cleto Grandi, Giulio Alfieri's chief mechanic in the small (make that very small) research and development department at Maserati was that it was very fast yes and the Merak chassis is a great one much more agile than the heavy Bora but the gearbox could not cope for long and de Tomaso as alwyas did not want to invest: he was resolutely focused on the Biturbos and only the Biturbos. By thn Grandi had quit the factory but his ex number two came to see him in Bologna in the car (which is now at the Panini museum), he drove it and was very impressed but heard that it was later shelved due to the need for another beefier transmission which de Tomaso did not want to bother with.

    So my point which is obvious anyway, is that if you were to install that engine in a Merak you need a stronger tranny if you don't want a salad of broken gears etc....

    But go for it: I am always fantasizing about a 7 speed Khamsin so the more nuts in the asylum the merrier:)

    Had the pleasure of doing a photoshoot of a Merak Monday in the Alps on a Monte Carlo rally stage but there was a slight problem: intense fog!
    Thank God the car was fly yellow not white or grey. It did feel very nimble as expected and you wish for more oomph so your 400bhp Merka fantasy is a sound one!

    Best regards,

    Marc

    Marc
     
  17. wbaeumer

    wbaeumer F1 Veteran
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    #14 wbaeumer, Nov 11, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Marc,
    yes, the standart gearbox woud not least for long with that engine installed.

    But -a little correction!- Maserati made 2 Meraks with Biturbo-engine and yes, one is with Panini while the other is located in Bonn/Germany.

    And here comes the engine:

    Ciao!
    Walter
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  18. wbaeumer

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    #15 wbaeumer, Nov 11, 2007
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    Marc,
    yes, the standart gearbox woud not least for long with that engine installed.

    But -a little correction!- Maserati made 2 Meraks with Biturbo-engine and yes, one is with Panini while the other is located in Bonn/Germany.

    And here comes the engine:

    Ciao!
    Walter
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  19. Nembo1777

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    Sehr interessant!
     
  20. Ferraripilot

    Ferraripilot F1 World Champ
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    That engine looks like absolutely beautiful. An astounding accomplishment. I was thinking the later ('91+) Lotus Esprit transaxle may work well if the Citron 'box is not up to it. The Esprit SE engine has been known to be tuned to well over 400bhp with no drivetrain issues. This would make for a very interesting project.


    One question. The cams are indeed not chain driven, but gear driven for sure?
     
  21. wbaeumer

    wbaeumer F1 Veteran
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    yep!

    Ciao!
    Walter
     
  22. duetto66

    duetto66 Rookie

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    Would someone please post a photo of the Ligier racecar that this engine ran in? Thanks in advance. Jeff
     
  23. Nembo1777

    Nembo1777 F1 Veteran
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    Voila! Please do not reuse, it was lent to me by someon who was part of Ligier's short lived glory days.

    Best regards,

    Marc
     
  24. Nembo1777

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    Sorry file too big and my photoshop needs renewal.

    However if you go to the Maserati club UK Andy Heywood did a very fine job on th topic: hope at least this link works:


    http://www.maseraticlub.co.uk/trident52-axaz.htm

    Best regards,

    Marc
     
  25. Thierry Lesparre

    Thierry Lesparre Formula Junior

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    #22 Thierry Lesparre, Nov 21, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Hello Walter,John and all,

    Very interesting thread. FYI the first Ligier JS2 engined by Maserati were entered for the first time in LM 1972.

    Here is a pic of the 73 V6 Maserati fitted in the JS2 during LM practice.


    Will be very must interested to know more about the Panini engine pics and number would be great.

    Regards,
    Thierry
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  26. Thierry Lesparre

    Thierry Lesparre Formula Junior

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    Always interesting to read a Ligier JS2 article.
    However there some mistakes on this article. A letter i send to Andy was published in the issue 53. I will scan it and post it here.

    Regards
    Thierry
     
  27. Ferraripilot

    Ferraripilot F1 World Champ
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    Looking forward to it!
     
  28. Thierry Lesparre

    Thierry Lesparre Formula Junior

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    #25 Thierry Lesparre, Nov 29, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017

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