1979 Rondeau M379C Pilots: B. Sotty, P. Yver, L. Guitteny Team: Jean Rondeau / Primagaz Race: 10th GC (5th in C) at Le Mans in 1982 Spark - S2272 (resin)
In 1977 Jean Rondeau terminated his partnership with Inaltera, and started to work on his own car. His first model was the Rondeau M378, and in 1978 he raced it at La Sarthe. The car had potential – he started out in 40th and finished in 9th. And won the GTP class! It was heavily based on the Inaltera car, using the same DFV Ford-Cosworth engine. The DFV was a 2993 cm³ V8 good for a respectable 415 hp. Rondeau continued developing his car, and finally in 1980, with the M379B version, he came in first place. For the first time a pilot won the 24 Hours of Le Mans piloting a car designed and built by himself. He kept evolving the car, and the M379B was followed by the M379C. All of his cars in reality were very similar, with the same DFV engine but with minute aerodynamic differences.
Chassis #003 had an illustrious race history. It rolled out of Rondeau’s shop in 1979, as M379 #4. Piloted by Jean Rondeau himself, it managed a 10th place in the 24 Heures du Mans of 1979. The next year it was back at La Sarthe, but in M379B configuration and wearing #16. At the hands of Rondeau and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud it came in 1st place overall. In 1981, this time with #7 on the doors and with M379C specs, it finished in third overall. The race of 1982 was the car’s last race, also in M379C specs, and it finished in 10th place.
Very few cars have such a rich heritage, therefore this ugly duckling caught my eye. A quirky-cool (perhaps ugly-cool) model, but it comes with Spark’s usual outstanding detail level. I don’t think it will float many boats, but a very interesting model especially to the Rondeau fan. Since I’m a BIG fan of ”L’Enfant du Mans”, I couldn’t pass up on this one.