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1986 March 86C news, pictures, specifications, and information

Chassis Num: 13
This is the 1986 Truesports/Budweiser March 86-C with chassis #13. After rain had washed out two previous days of racing, Bobby Rahal won the Indianapolis 500 on June 1, 1986, in this very chassis, #13, in one of the closest finishes in Indy 500 history. Bobby, driving for Truesports Racing, pulled past Kevin Cogan on the final restart with two laps remaining and won by 1.4 seconds. Bobby went on to win Toronto, Mid-Ohio, Sanair, Michigan and Laguna Seca in 1986 and won the CART Indy Car Driver's Championship. He won it again for Truesports in 1987. At the end of the 1986 season, this chassis was returned to its exact Indy 500 livery with the winning Cosworth motor and was used for display by Budweiser in 1987. In 1988, the Truesports team was attempting to design and build its own American-made chassis and to help cover the cost, they sold this winning car to the current owner.
British manufacturer and Formula One constructor, March Engineering began operation in 1969 by its four founders, Max Mosley, Alan Rees, Graham Coaker and Robin Herd. The name 'March' was chosen by using initials from their first or last names. Each of these individuals brought unique qualities and talents to the team. Herd was the designer, Rees was the team's manager, Coaker oversaw production, and Mosley handled the commercial side of the operation.

The purpose of the company was to provide chassis for customers competing in all racing categories. In 1969 the company built a Formula 3 car. A year later they produced an F1 racer, the 701, which they used for team competition and to supply to privateers. In the non-championship Race of Champions, Jackie Stewart gave March its first F1 victory. He won the Spanish Grand Prix a month later.

In the years to come, the company would become more successful in more classes, except for the F1 program, than any other manufacturer. Their products appeared in Formula 2, Formula 3, Formula Ford 1600, and CanAm.

The March 86C was created to contest the new CART regulations which appeared in 1986 and continued through 1989. These regulations reduced the size and length of the diffusers and improved the vehicles rearward visibility. The tub of the car was to be constructed from honeycomb and sidepods were to be added to increase driver safety. March also removed their trademark lare nose in the front of the vehicle.

The March and Lola were some of the main producers of customer chassis for the sport, with the March having more success than their competition. At the Indy 500, nine of the top ten positions were captured by March 86C racing machines. Bobby Rahal, a former Atlantic series driver, piloted an March 86C to victory for Jim Trueman and the Truesports Motor team. Rahal would end the series in first place in the Championship and was followed closely by another March 86C, Michael Andretti.

The Rahal victory at Indy was memorable for many reasons. First, it was a brilliant accomplishment and a very tough victory; it was the closest freeway finish in the history of the race. As the laps began to wind down, Rahal's fuel light came on signaling a shortage of fuel. Had the race been just one lap longer, and Rahal would have found himself closer to the back of the pack. Another reason was, at the time, the Truesports' patron, Jim Trueman, was battling cancer. The victory was the first win at the Brickyard for Trueman, and this completed his life's goal. Ten days later, Trueman passed away.

Danny Sullivan drove a Miller Beer March 86C at the Indy 500 and was the second fastest qualifier. He would score two victories in the car. Rick Mears drove the number 4 Pennzoil car and finished in third place. Michael Andretti drove the Kraco March 86C. In the Interscop/Goodwrench cars was Danny Ongais. Emerson Fittipaldi drove the Marlboro 86C, and Foyt was in the Coppenhagen 86C. Josele Garza qualified his March 86C for the Machinists Union.

In 1987, the Penske March 86 was driven by Al Unser, Sr. to an Indianapolis 500 victory. The car was powered by a Cosworth/Ford DFX V8 engien with DOHC and producing around 700 horsepower. The March marque had an excellent string of victories at the Indianapolis 500 race, winning five straight times between 1983 and 1987, with the 86C continuing that streak two times in a row.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2011
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