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Group C: The Rise and Fall of the Golden Age of Endurance Racing: Cars and Constructors Part 4

Submitted by on June 28, 2019

By Marcel Hundscheid / Speed-O-Graphica

We continue our Group C retrospective with this look into Dome, Ecurie Ecosse and EMKA.


Minoru Hayashi built his first racing car in 1965, going on to found Dome in 1975. It turned out that road cars such as the Dome Zero and Dome P2 weren’t a success, so Dome continued building sportscars for Toyota’s motorsport department. Initially these cars competed in the All Japan Super Silhouette Championship, with Group C following in the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship.

For the 1982 24 Hours of Le Mans, Dome built the RC82, which featured a chassis constructed by March Engineering. The car was meant to compete in the C1 category and was eventually fitted with an 8.8-litre Chevrolet V8 engine.

The Dome RC82 never finished a race and was followed by the RC83. Dome constructed the chassis and used a 4-litre Cosworth DFL V8 to power the machine. The car debuted at the 1983 1000 km of Fuji and retired after just 31 laps due to transmission failure. Although the car made it to the finish line at other events, it ultimately wasn’t successful.

Ecurie Ecosse

David Murray, a Scottish businessman and racing driver, founded Ecurie Ecosse in 1951. The team scored two Le Mans 24 Hours victories back-to-back in 1956 and 1957. Encountering financial problems during the mid ’60s, the team started to decline and was shut down, but it was brought back to life between 1969 and 1971 racing Formula 2 cars.

During the early ’80s, Scottish businessman Hugh McCaigh resurrected Ecurie Ecosse once more. Initially there were plans to enter the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1983 with a Chevron B52/54 Sports 2000, although the Ecosse C284 was announced to participate in the 1984 race.

This tiny Group C2 racer was powered by a 3.3-litre Ford Cosworth DFL that sat in a De Cadenet-Lola chassis. The car debuted at the Monza 1000 kms in 1984 and also participated at Silverstone and Le Mans during that year. A second place in C2 class during the race in Monza was the best result that year.

For 1985 Ray Mallock designed the Ecosse C285, a car that would be very competitive. The C285 was powered by a 3.3-litre Ford Cosworth DFV and was derived from the earlier C284, although it used a new chassis and featured improved aerodynamics. The C285 won the C2 class at Silverstone, Brands Hatch and Hockenheim, helping Ecurie Ecosse to second place overall in the 1985 C2 championship.

The third and final car was the Ecosse C286, powered by the Rover V64V engine that was also used in the MG Metro 6R4 Group B rally car. At the 1986 Le Mans 24 Hours, the C286 led the C2 class for much of the 24 hours. Although the Rover engine proved to be very trusty, a blown rear tyre led to disaster. Although the car managed to get back to the pits, the driver refilled the C286 with boiled water by accident, which led to disqualification due to strict fluid rules.


EMKA Racing was founded by Pink Floyd’s manager Steven O’Rourke. Maurice Gomm and Protoco built the chassis for the Len Bailey-designed EMKA Aston Martin sports car for racing under Group C rules. The car was powered by a Aston Martin 5340 cc V8 that was redesigned by Bailey.

EMKA C83/1 debuted at the 1983 Silverstone 1000 km race. Later that year C83/1 was entered at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, finishing 17th overall. EMKA C84/1 was developed for the 1985 season and featured new bodywork, although it didn’t employ the ground effects applied to previous cars. Despite the fact that the C84/1 was much quicker, the car wasn’t a great success. Its best result was an 11th place overall at the 1985 24 Hours of Le Mans.

By Marcel Hundscheid / Speed-O-Graphica

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