1982 Rondeau M482 Pilots: J-P. Grand, J. Terrien, G. Rahier Team: Graff Racing Race: 12th GC (12th in Group C class) at Le Mans in 1987 Bizarre - BZ113 (resin)
Jean Rondeau (*05/13/46, +12/27/85) was a French race car driver that at the age of 31 decided to become a constructor. The M482 was Rondeau’s third car. It was developed for one thing: to beat the unstoppable Porsche 956 (and come ahead of the Lancia LC1). By 1982 Rondeau had a well established shop, and the 482 project was supposed to be a ground effect car. However, the engineering team had a very poor understanding of the concept. They eventually got it right, but the engine didn’t help much. Rondeau used the Ford-Cosworth DFL Evolution, an aspirated 3298 cm³ V8 with Lucas electronic fuel injection that produced 550 hp. It was supposedly more reliable than the previous DFV, but in reality it wasn’t solid enough for endurance racing.
Because of the very poor results in 1982, by 1983 the company wasn’t in good financial shape. Even after winning in 1980. With money short, Rondeau had to stop developing his cars. And so the M482 was the last Rondeau. Car #40 is chassis #M482-001, first driven at the 1983 24 Heures du Mans by Jean Rondeau himself, and the last car to cross the finish line in the 1987 race. This car was also the penultimate Rondeau to race at La Sarthe – in 1988 a vintage M379C raced but didn’t classify.
This is an oddball of a car, with a not very prodigious racing career, but with a very sui generis shape. You can basically see how the engineering team struggled with the design, as if they were not sure if this ground effect business would actually work. So who else to make such a bizarre car if not Bizarre? And a VERY nice model they made, solidly capturing the car’s weird body. Not a model for all collectors, maybe even only for the diehard Le Mans collector, but perfect for my garage. One of those cars that’s so ugly that it becomes très cool.