WEC - Morgan Returns To Le Mans
Le Mans, Apr. 2, 2012: Morgan Motor Company was founded in 1910 by Harry Frederick Stanley Morgan. Originally employed as an engineer on Britain’s railways, Morgan opened his first garage in Worcestershire in 1906 selling cars on behalf of Darraq and Rover. It was not long however before he was designing cars of his own and three years later in 1909 a first prototype was unveiled. Despite shunning convention by featuring just three wheels (two at the front, one at the rear) Morgan’s radical design immediately captured the public’s imagination and in 1910 the Runabout entered production.
While HFS Morgan used traditional means such as automotive exhibitions to showcase his products, from the outset motorsport also played a prominent role in the company’s marketing strategy. Success was not long in coming and in 1913 the Morgan Runabout won the Cyclecar Grand Prix at Amiens in France, bringing the marque considerable fame and demand.By 1936 sales of Morgan Motor Company’s original three-wheeled models had declined, prompting the marque to launch a more conventional four-wheeled sports car design, the Morgan 4/4. Once again motorsport remained at the heart of the brand’s philosophy with the 4/4 contesting Le Mans in 1938 and ‘39.
Such was the universal appeal of this new model that its design – featuring a long bonnet, separate wings and cutaway doors – has remained in production in various guises ever since. In fact, before reprising the concept in 2011, the company’s three-wheel heritage had been largely overshadowed by the success of its four-wheeled counterparts.
Indeed, it was with one of these models that the marque achieved international sporting success, for in 1962 a Plus Four Super Sport claimed victory in the 2-litre class at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Morgan has gone on to achieve further success on the world stage with the Aero range, launched in 2003 and featuring BMW power, is now complimented by a new Morgan 3 Wheeler that boasts modern technology in the original V-twin cyclecar design of HFS Morgan.
Now, in 2012, Morgan Motor Company will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its Le Mans victory by returning to La Sarthe with OAK Racing whose LMP2 prototype – designed and built by the team’s manufacturing department Onroak Automotive – has been christened the Morgan 2012 LMP2.