Formula One private entrant-turnedconstructor Guy Ligier’s first (and only) open sports prototype raced just three times, in 1971. It finished second in the 3-hour Le Mans Trial in April and then won Montlhery’s Spring Trophy.
He was joined by Patrick Depailler for the Le Mans 24 Hours, and they qualified (the first DFV-powered car to do so) in 17th. A lengthy stop to repair tranmission woes meant they were not classified, although they did cross the line.
Since that moment it has stood collecting dust in the corner of a JS3 raced just three times, but gave Cosworth DFV its Le Mans debut French workshop — until now.
Designed in 1970 by Michel Tetu — who went on to pen Renault’s grand prix winners, before returning to Vichy to detail Ligier’s JS25-31s — the JS3 was ahead of its time, built on a TG-welded Klegecel (aluminium honeycomb) monocoque, well before the method was widely used in Formula One.
“The concept was right, but they couldn’t then figure how to feed the loads into the chassis,” said its restorer Simon Hadfield who, together with Geoff Wyatt, rebuilt the car on a fresh tub by Fox Motorsport.
Still with the original Hewland DG300 gearbox, and a period-spec DFV, Willie Green gave the car only its fourth ever race — and second win — at Coys, Nicolas Zapata’s yellowand-green machine wowing the spectators and driver alike.
“It has enormous potential,” said Green, who dominated the race after Jonathan Baker’s Alfa T33 had spun.