Games Without Frontiers Volume 1 1966-1974 : Matra, Alpine, Ligier, Simca, Renault, Citroen


Stuart Ager


Many books have been written about the French racing team Matra, detailing the cars and the races it competed in, yet falling to divulge what really went on behind the scenes. One day the team was winning, the toast of France – the next it had vanished, gone without a trace.

I resolved to find out for myself. The story I uncovered was more complex, more surprising and more thrilling than I could have imagined. Little did I expect the destiny of Matra to be so interconnected with the stories of Alpine and Ligier, let alone a range of topics as diverse as the introduction of colour television, the fate of truck company Berliet, the consequences of wartime occupation, the rivalry between Simca, Citroën and Renault, illegal political party funding, the films of Jean-Luc Godard, unfathomable goings-on at the FIA (motor sport’s governing body), the beginnings of the European Economic Community, the unsavoury activities of the French security services, the influence of the ENA, the significance of the cars used by the Gendarmerie, the dirigiste economy, ministerial corruption, unsolved murders, attempted assassinations – and lots of motor racing. But we are getting ahead of ourselves…