Postcards from Slough
Postcards from Slough

JWAE Mirage

JW Automotive Engineering

John Wyer had been Competition Manager for Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd, and later became General Manager of the company. A young John Horsman had an interview with Wyer in 1958 and was subsequently offered an apprenticeship with the company. Horsman progressed well with Aston Martin Racing but the company was wound up in 1963. Horsman went back to his studies and Wyer went to manage the Ford GT40 project with the new Ford Advanced Vehicles as well as managing Mirage Cars.

Mirage M2 as driven by David Hobbs & Mike Hailwood at the Nurburgring 1,000km Sportscar Championship in 1969. It retired on the 18th lap of 44 with fuel pump problems.

Mirage Gulf M6/Gulf GR7 and GR8

After Porsche JWAE returned to concentrate on their own Mirage programme and developed the Ford Cosworth-powered M6 model. It competed in the World Championship for Makes from 1972 and its best result was victory was in the 1973 Spa-Francorchamps 1,000 km. For the 1974 season the Mirage M6 was renamed the Gulf GR7 and the team became Gulf Ford and took second place in the 1974 World Championship for Makes. The team’s last victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1975 in a GR8 driven by Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell. The other team car finished third with Vern Schuppan and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud.

 

Gulf Oil withdrew sponsorship from international sports car racing in late 1975, and American entrepreneur and former racing driver Harley Cluxton III purchased the Mirage team and all associated manufacturing rights from John Wyer and the Gulf Research Racing Company. Cluxton’s continued contesting the Mirages at Le Mans with sponsorship from JCB Excavators, Elf Lubricants, and Renault Sport. John Horsman managed the team with guidance from John Wyer and the Mirage M8 finished second overall in both 1976 and 1977.

This image represents the Mirage GR8 driven by Derek Bell and Jacky Ickx, winners of the 1975 Le Mans 24 Hour.

From 1974 to 1978, Mirages never finished outside of the top ten positions at Le Mans and Mirage is one of only two independently constructed racing car marques to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans since the return of the race in 1949.

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Postcards from Slough gratefully uses images from Grace's Guide.

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