1985 March 85G Sports Prototype  Chassis no. 85G-03

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Lot 646
1985 March 85G Sports Prototype
Chassis no. 85G-03

Sold for £ 47,700 (US$ 57,828) inc. premium
1985 March 85G Sports Prototype
Chassis no. 85G-03

Footnotes

  • The founders of March Engineering were nothing if not ambitious. Less than a year after building a one-off Formula 3 prototype in a shed, Jackie Stewart drove March’s first F1 design to a World Championship Grand Prix victory second time out in Spain. And Chris Amon had already won the BRDC’s International Trophy at Silverstone in a factory 701. By that time March – a name combining those of lawyer Max Mosley (now president of the FIA, world motorsport’s governing body), Alan Rees, Graham Coaker and Robin Herd – was mass producing, by racing standards, production cars ranging from monstrous Can-Am sportscars to spindly tubular-framed Formula Ford 1600s in Bicester, close to Silverstone.
    While much of the early hype was justified – and Ronnie Peterson’s victory in the 1971 European F2 championship, and second place in the ’71 F1 World Championship went a long way to perpetuating it – the marque had to wait a long time for its second GP win. Italian crashmeister Vittorio Brambilla’s Austrian GP success in ’75 was against the odds, as was ‘SuperSwede’ Peterson’s at Monza the following season. Thereafter F1 joy eluded the minnows with their rent-a-drivers at the poor end of an increasingly monied pit-lane. Fortunately, however, March ploughed more lucrative furrows, building countless cars for the full gamut of international formulae. Their initially exclusive deal with engine supplier BMW saw the combo win the 2-litre title five more times, with Jean-Pierre Jarier, Patrick Depailler, Bruno Giacomelli, Marc Surer and Corrado Fabi.
    The sportscar equivalent of the F2 chassis saw some success in European Group 6 but less sustained challenges in mainstream events against the likes of homespun rivals Chevron and Lola, and Italian manufacturers Abarth and Osella. Nonetheless, March saw the opportunity to rekindle its fortunes in prototype racing with the advent of the parallel - from a chassis standpoint at least - Group C and IMSA GTP competitions in Europe and the USA respectively come the early 1980s.
    Although the big aluminium monocoque machines were overwhelmed by Porsche’s 962s in Europe, they were popular choices for those using grunty 5.7-litre Chevrolet V8 engines in the USA. At least for a couple of golden seasons. Al Holbert and Randy Lanier landed the IMSA titles in ’83 and ’84 respectively, using 83G cars. By the mid-1980s though, March had become the dominant player in the CART Championship World Series, supplying the majority of the field and landing back-to-back titles through Al Unser and Bobby Rahal. This lucrative arena diverted focus from sportscars, which were made in smaller numbers.
    The 85G offered for sale, chassis 3 of 11 built, was one of two supplied to Sicilian-American IMSA stalwart Phil Conte’s RC Cola-sponsored team, which ran immensely powerful but unreliable (over long distances) turbocharged Buick V6 engines which it previewed in an 84G at Daytona’s finale the previous season.
    With what is believed to be a period-correct Buick engine, the striking March (subsequently dubbed Buick Hawk) would make a tremendous and cost-effective alternative to Porsches and Jaguars in the Group C GTP Racing sprint race series in Europe, or vintage racing back on ‘home’ soil in the USA.
1985 March 85G Sports Prototype  Chassis no. 85G-03
1985 March 85G Sports Prototype  Chassis no. 85G-03
1985 March 85G Sports Prototype  Chassis no. 85G-03
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