2010 FORD GT GT1
Founded by the late Martin Bartek, Matech Concepts was a Geneva-based (administratively) race team that was formed in 2006 whilst it’s Motorsport operations were run from a facility in Mayen, Germany (close to the Nurburgring). Initially Matech was the European distributor for the Ford Mustang FR500 but the primary purpose of the new company was, following an agreement with Ford Racing, to develop the marques’ GT Supercar for Sportscar racing. Using the stunning GT, which itself was a homage to the legendary GT40, Matech initially developed a GT3 version which debuted in 2007.
Fast straight out the box; the Matech GT3 qualified on pole for it’s first race the RAC Tourist Trophy at Silverstone in 2007 but due to limited testing it was let down by electrical reliability. The point was however proven that Matech had developed the Ford into a formidable race car. Matech went on to dominate the 2008 season and duly claimed the FIA European GT3 Team Championship.
With their competence well-proven, Bartek soon announced that his team were stepping up their efforts in order to compete at the highest level of GT racing; the GT1 category. The existing Matech program was supported by Ford but they had previously insisted that any ACO/ Le Mans homologation would not be possible with Ford’s support and blessing. In March 2009 however Bartek was to receive a letter from Brian Wolfe (Director of Ford North America Motorsports), he congratulated Matech on their success to date and in light of this permitted Matech to construct a GT1 variant of the Ford GT Supercar. The requisites were that Ford Racing were to exclusively supply the engines, that the entries were ensured to be competitive and that the development required to homologate the GT1 car be at Matech’s expense.
Akin to the GT3 program, the first season (2009) was treated as a development year. Matech modified two GT3 chassis to conform to GT1 regulations and used these in select races whilst the all-new for 2010 specification GT1 was developed from scratch behind the scenes.
The 2010 Matech GT1 was an extremely refined package and featured the best of all ingredients in every facet. The chassis was constructed by renowned German engineering company Heggemann, predominantly an Aerospace company (some may recall they were the constructor of the Porsche GT1 of the late 90s) their quality and execution is second to none. The engines were 5.3 Litre variants of the normally aspirated ‘Cammer’ V8 and at this capacity were exclusively developed for the GT1 project, they were built and supplied via Ford Racing’s ‘works’ engine builder Roush Yates. The 6 speed, sequential transmission came from British firm Xtrac who are the leader in their respective sector. Aside from the tub, the bodywork was all carbon-fibre and with the aerodynamics refined for 2010 (particularly in finessing the frontal area – they were allowed access to Ford’s wind tunnel in Cologne) the package was ready to race.
Just 2 teams were to enter the new GT1 variant; the factory Matech outfit and that of the well-funded, prominent Belgian team Marc VDS (who at the time were at the forefront of several Motorsport disciplines). In total it is acknowledged that just 6 of the 2010 specification GT1 were constructed, (due to racing attrition) just 4 survive today.
Of particular note, the dream was achieved by Matech in 2010 in that, after a 41 year hiatus, Ford’s Blue Oval returned to Le Mans for the 24 Hours. The results did not do the effort justice but the pace was proven in that a Matech GT1 not only qualified on pole for the class but a sister car led its class 8 hours of the race until suffering an engine failure. Again the raw pace of the Ford/ Matech package was proven.
The principle racing activities of the Matech GT1 program was that of the GT1 World Championship. The format of this Championship was that Qualifying operated a F1 style knockout formula and this determined the start position for the Qualifying Race (in which only the top 3 finishers scored points). The Trophy Race (top 10 finishers scoring points) then commenced how the Qualifying Race finished albeit there was success ballast added so to the level the chances of success. In both races there was a requirement for both a driver and tyre change therefore tactics and teamwork were critical to the result.
As to be expected, the Matech GT1 was a consistent winner in both 2010 and 2011 with victories spread across the competing teams/ cars.
As noted in the race history declared by Marc VDS; chassis #003 competed as car number 41 across both the 2010 and 2011 seasons. In 2010 the car was driven by the Finn Markus Palttala for the whole season, being joined by Belgian Renaud Kuppens for the first 6 rounds and Italian Matteo Bobbi for the final 3.
For 2011, it was piloted all season by the sensationally talented Belgian Maxime Martin, this was arguably the season of his making as he has gone on to be regarded as one of the finest drivers of his generation. After his spell with Marc VDS (competing in their GT3 and VLN programs also) he was picked up as a factory BMW driver and today is a factory Aston Martin professional. For the majority of the 2011 season, Martin was partnered with the equally talented French star ‘Freddie’ Makowiecki. He subsequently raced for the factory Aston Martin team but for many years has been a Porsche factory driver and currently races for them in the WEC.
In the six race weekends they were partnered together during 2011; Martin and Makowiecki claimed a total of 4 race wins (3 Qualifying races and 1 Trophy race). Of particular note was the Ordos City (China) round when the pairing claimed both the Qualifying and Trophy races.
At the end of the 2011 Season #003 was retired from racing and was retained by Marc VDS until 2014 when it (along with its sister car) was acquired by an American Partnership. Prior to purchase completing, the cars were thoroughly checked through and had a pre-handover shakedown at a private track. We acquired #003 in 2019, it is now EU taxes paid and UK domiciled.
#003 remains having last raced at San Luis, Argentina in November 2011, even the Scrutineering tag remains on the windscreen. The engine still has it’s FIA seal affixed, aside from this the car is immaculately original.
The Matech GT1 is a delightfully mechanical beast without an overabundance of tech therefore the driver input remains key. Thankfully not requiring any pre-heating, once oil pressure is up it fires straight into life and makes the most menacing of sounds. Kms/ hours on the major drivetrain items are unknown therefore it is advised that these key items be checked prior to any extended use. Similarly the safety equipment (seat, belts, fuel cell and extinguisher) will need renewing if the intention is to race the car in anger as will crack-testing of the critical stress-bearing components as recommended by the current Series operators.
The MoTec PDMs have recently been updated and a suitable laptop has been configured in order to access the dataloggers.
- Marc VDS supplied race history summary
- Ford Racing letter sanctioning Matech’s GT1 program
- Continental fuel cell certificate
- Comprehensive Marc VDS booklet with various procedures noted including torque settings, engine running, damper settings, track setup
- Matech Concepts GT1 2010 Parts Catalogue
- Roush Yates starting, operating and post running procedures
- Heggemann homologation document for roll cage
There is a comprehensive spares package accompanying #003, included within this is a spare engine, wheels, bodywork and various parts relating to brakes, suspension and a variety of aspects required to run the car. Please enquire for an inventory.
PETER AUTO - Endurance Racing Legends
Paul Ricard, Spa Francorchamps, Le Mans Classic, Monza and Estoril
MASTERS – Aston Martin Masters Endurance Legends
Portimao, Monza, Paul Ricard, Silverstone, Zandvoort and Spa Francorchamps
Sebring, Road Atlanta, Barber Motorsports Park, Watkins Glen and Daytona
Matech Ford GT GT1 chassis #003 is considered to be a front-runner in its class for the race series’ it is eligible for. From our initial investigations we also consider that in comparison to other potential GT1 options the Matech Ford is likely to serve as a surprisingly cost-effective entrant. Without doubt it is one of the most aggressively attractive GT1 cars of its period and an important part of Ford’s rich racing history, in particular it’s contribution to that of the whole GT40 legacy and Le Mans 24 Hour association. Open to any inspection, we are extremely proud to bring this brute to market.