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1971 Ligier JS3

1971 Ligier JS3

1971 Ligier JS3

By the mid 1960s Guy Ligier, had already made a name for himself in his country as a well-connected and successful businessman in the construction industry, and as an accomplished sportsman, who had played rugby for his nation. He had also always had an interest in sports cars, and latterly had begun to enjoy motor sport, encouraged by his great friend Jo Schlesser. As his passion developed, he moved from endurance racing to single seaters, and in 1966 broke into Formula 1, piloting a Cooper-Maserati at the Monaco Grand Prix. He continued Grand Prix racing for two troubled seasons, during which he was able to record a points finish, but also suffered a crash in practice at the NurbÜrgring, and when Schlesser was killed at the French Grand Prix temporarily withdrew from the sport.

By the time of the Schlesser tragedy, Ligier had commissioned his own sports racer, which was beginning to take shape, and although shelved briefly, it was revived when Renault designer Michel Tétu joined the concern. Tétu was responsible for the first series of Ligier open sports racing cars, which were designated JS 1/2/3, the prefix, which would continue throughout the lifetime of the company, being in memory of Schlesser.

JS 1 and 2s were basically built for the road although some JS2s made were campaigned, but the JS 3 was an all new one-off sports prototype built for circuit racing.

Specific history of this car

The JS3 debuted at the Le Mans 24 Hours Qualification race on 17/18th April 1971. Guy Ligier came 2nd in a time of 3 hours 36 minutes, earning it a place at the main event in June. A week later, he won the 1000kms at the Montlhéry.

At the 1971 Le Mans, partnered by Depailler the JS 3 was running very well, until transmission problems intervened. The gearbox was rebuilt during the race, and although now off the pace, it did complete the event.

After Le Mans, the JS 3 languished in the Ligier factory for a while before being acquired by a well-known French Grand Prix driver. In 1999 it was purchased by the present owner. The car was complete although suffering from 20 years of neglect and was given to Simon Hadfield for a complete restoration with no expense spared. The original specifications have been religiously adhered to.

Exceptional Motor Cars at Christies Paris

This car will be offered as a lot at the upcoming Christies sale in Paris. For additional information on this and other lots in the sale visit

In Detail

submitted by Richard Owen
engine DFV Cosworth V8
displacement 3000 cc / 183.1 in³
power 335.6 kw / 450 bhp
specific output 150.0 bhp per litre
driven wheels RWD
front brakes Discs
f brake size mm / in
rear brakes Discs
r brake size mm / in
f suspension Double Wishbones w/Coil Spring-Shock Absorber Units
r suspension Double Wishbones w/Coil Spring-Shock Absorber Units, Radius Arms, Anti-Roll Bar
transmission Hewland 5-Speed Manual
gear ratios :1