FANDOM


The Matra MS640 was a prototype sports car produced by Matra in 1969, but was canceled after a near fatal accident during a test run.

In 1969 Matra began work on the MS640 in preparation for the Le Mans, planning to replace the MS630 and bring Matra's first victory at La Sarthe. To achieve this Matra contracted the former aerodynamicist Robert Choulet of German & Bonnet. Choulet designed a streamlined coupe derieved from the MS630 chassis, using the shapes of the 1967 CD SP66, whose construction he had played a leading role in. The car had rounded shapes, vertical tail fins, and covered rear wheel arches.

The first test run took place on 16 April 1969. Matra factory driver Henri Pescarolo drove the MS640 during the test day for the 24-hour race at the Le Mans circuit. After a few miles, on the very long Hunaudières straight, the vehicle began "flying" down the track with its wheels off the ground. Following the accident, the test vehicle was completely destroyed and Henri Pescarolo suffered serious burns, but escaped with his life.

During the subsequent investigation it was found that the vehicle's aerodynamic design contributed to the accident, under the pressure of the air at high speeds. The coupe was at a speed of just over 300 km / h when it became unstable, lost traction, and the fatal departure was the result. After the accident, the second prototype was withdrawn immediately. The MS640 would never came to a race.