Truth be told, the Marcos LM95 is unlikely to rival the Porsche 956/962 or the Ford GT 40 as one of the 24 Hours of Le Mans all-time great racers. It boasts no wins, no podiums, no fastest laps, and only one start at the famous endurance race. Granted the CLR GTR made only one start at Le Mans but that little somersaulting issue has cemented its name in the history books. On home turf in Britain however, it’s another story for the Marcos LM95/LM600.
In the British GT Championship in the early 1990s and the preceding British Racing Driver’s Club (BRDC) GT Championship, home-grown competitors Marcos remained a regular threat for victories and outright championship victories. Indeed, after back-to-back GT2 Championship victories in the 1995 and 1996 in the GT2 category, Marcos would go on to win the overall crown in 2000.
All three Championship wins came with the LM600, a race-spec version of the marque’s road going – and TVR rivalling – Mantara GT. This was also the model that replaced the Rover 5.0-litre V8 powered LM500 when Team Marcos entered the British GT Championship in 1994.
A whole new aggressive approach to the 1995 GT scene though saw two Chevy 6.0-litre small block V8 run LM600s take the reigns, with notable success (on its two appearances in the shortlived BPR Global GT Series in 1996, the LM600 took GT2 class victory and second place at Silverstone and Brand’s Hatch respectively). Very soon, Le Mans beckoned.
Under the Team Computacenter banner, two LM600s became LM95-01 and LM95-02 in deference to the venue (Le Mans) and the year of the model’s first race. An inauspicious start to affairs saw both Marcos #70 and #71 line-astern on the grid in 43rd and 444th spot.
Electrical trouble for the #70 LM95-01 struck almost immediately, and while some solid running at least got drivers Cor Euser, Chris Hodgetts (who would become British GT2 Champion later that same year with the team) and Thomas Erdos out of the gate, by lap 133 it was all she wrote for the Team Marcos #70 entry. The sister LM95-02 however marched on, and despite a couple of mechanical gremlins digging in during the night, David Leslie (he of British Touring Car Championship fame), Chris Marsh and François Migault were still able to cross the chequered flag at Le Mans at their first collective attempt. The official results deem them NC for non-classified since the LM95-02 was 114 laps behind the winning McLaren F1 GTR, but their point had been made.
Years on the GT scene would warrant further victories in both British GTs and the GT Revival Series. But in 2013, nearly 20 years after their day in the sun, LM95-01 (#220 aka #70) and the LM95-02 (#44 aka #71) returned to La Sarthe for the first Tineau Test day/track day of the year, much to the enthusiasm of both crankandpiston and Fast Auto.
International stardom may not have smiled on the Marcos LM95s/LM600s during their competitive years (nor the company, who closed its doors in 2007 much as it had done in 1971 and 2000 when the money ran out for the final time), but one of Britain’s many forgotten manufacturers showed that its never too late for a second crack of the whip.
FULL GALLERY OF TINEAU TEST DAY IMAGES HERE – CLICK – Shots courtesy of Fast Auto.