The M3 was an updated Mirage M2 with a Ford-Cosworth DFV V8 engine.
Wyer was disappointed in the BRM V12's performance, even in updated four-valve specification, so he turned to Ford again and this time did manage to secure a batch of the dominant DFV. A chassis was constructed specifically for the V8, which was installed with a Hewland gearbox. Dubbed the M3, it debuted alongside a four-valve V12 engined sister car at the Nürburgring 1000 km race in June 1969. A wishbone failure ended the race early for the new Mirage. Compared to the rival weight was an issue and following their example, the roof was cut off the M3 to create a Spyder body. These drastic developments did help the Mirage move up the field and at its second outing, the Zeltweg 1000 km, the M3 was on pole. A steering failure ended the race early but at the Imola 500 km race in September all pieces finally fell into place as Ickx managed to convert the M3's second pole into victory.
Despite finally scoring the first victory, the Mirage M3's future was uncertain at the end of the 1969 season. The reason was another rule-change; the homologation limit for Group 4 had been dropped to just 25 examples ahead of the 1969 season. Porsche had jumped at the opportunity and developed the purpose-built 917. Effectively a prototype racer, the new Porsche looked set to dominate together with the similar Ferrari 512 S that was also readied for 1970. As early as March of 1969, Porsche had asked Wyer to run a team of 917s and for 1970 a deal was struck. With the help of JWA's engineers, the wily 917 was turned into a driveable sports racer and the rest, so they say, is history. Although a victory at Le Mans eluded the team, the Gulf-liveried 917 have achieved legendary status due the movie Le Mans.
Wyer's men continued the development of the M3 just in anticipation of finalising the team-up with Porsche. A more slippery body with a front-mounted radiator was fitted but it was never raced in this guise. It has survived with the later configuration and, after spells in Wales and North America, is now in French hands.
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