1983 March 83G news, pictures, specifications, and information
This vehicle is a 1983 March IMSA GTP 'Executone' 83 G1 with serial number 83 G1. It was treated to a restoration in 2004 and brought back to its original glory, when Randy Lanier drove the car to an impressive 2nd place victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona. Lanier had been running at the lead for 20 of the hours.
Drivers who have graced the cockpit include Hurley Haywood, Whittington Brothers, Jim Truman, and Bobby Rahal. The car is currently powered by a 310 cubic-inch Chevrolet engine capable of producing 550 horsepower and 350 foot-pounds of torque. There is a Hewland gearbox mated to the engine and powering the rear wheels. The body is constructed of carbon fiber-kevlar and carefully conceal the aluminum monocoque chassis. There is a rack & pinon steering setup and unequal-length controls arms controlling the suspension.By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2017
This March 83G competed in the IMSA GTP Class powered by a 360-cubic-inch Chevrolet engine. It is fitted with full ground effects and the 2200 pound car was clocked at 215 mph at Daytona. The car has a 31-gallon fuel capacity and can travel from zero-to-sixty mph in 3 seconds. The body consists of 5 pieces of Kevlar and carbon fibre, while the chassis is aluminum honeycomb monocoque.
Kenper Miller and David Cowart, the current owners, raced 'The Red Lobster' in the Camel GT Series from July 1983 through March 1985. During this span, the car had 11 top five finishes and 15 times it finished in the top 10.
For the past 10 years, the car has participated in select vintage races around the country.
Al Holbert was the original racer, with a 366 Chevy engine. It ran in red and white livery with CRC Chemicals / Red Roof Inn sponsorship. In four races in 1983 IMSA he earned a 2nd at Riverside, 1st in Miami, Mid Ohio and Laguna Seca.
He sold the car to David Cowart and Kemper Miller, who were sponsored by Red Lobster.
In 1983 they were 2nd in their debut at Brainerd IMSA, 4th at Sears point, 2nd at Mosport and 4th at the Daytona finale.
In 1984 they were 2nd at Laguna Seca, Mosport and Michigan, 3rd at Riverside, 4th at Road Atlanta, 6th at Sears Point and Lime Rock.
These were remarkable results for privateers.
After its retirement from racing, Camel leased the car for two years and displayed it in malls and public places to promote the IMSA series.
It was possibly the best known car of its day due to the distinctive graphics that suited the shape of the car.
March Engineering built a single Formula 3 car in 1969, after which they made an ambitious announcement with plans for factory entries in Formula 1, Formula 2, Formula 3, Formula Ford and Can-Am racing events. The company's first Formula 1 victory was earned by Jackie Stewart, driving for Ken Tyrrell. The following years were met with moderate modest levels of success, including 2nd in the championship in 1971. In 1977, the March Formula 1 team was sold to ATS.
After a halfhearted attempt to achieve Formula 1 success in 1981 and 1982, the company turned their engineering talents towards building Indy cars. This proved to be a successful venture, as the team won five straight Indy 500 victories for Cosworth-powered Marches between 1983 and 1987.
With the introduction of GTP/Group C sports car racing, March entered a car based on the M1C project they had worked on for BMW. By 1983, designer Adrian Newey was working for March and was tasked with designing the 83G. The 83G was an evolution of the 82G that in turn was inspired by the M1C.
Five 83G examples were produced for the 1983 season, four for GTP and one for Nissan to run in Group C. Two of the GTP cars were sold to Al Holbert, one with Chevrolet power and one (83G-4) with a Porsche flat six derived from the 935.
Chassis number 83G-4 was given a red and white GRC/Red Roof Inns livery. Its first competition outing was at the 500K races at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 15th of 1983, claiming pole position and 1st Place in a competitive field that included Bob Tullius in his new Jaguar. The car earned a 4th Place at Lime Rock, followed a disappointing finish at Mosport. The car lost a turbo and was forced to finish in 9th place. This was followed by three race victories, taking 1st Place at Brainerd, Sears Point, and Portland. The next race was a 6-hour race at Mosport where it finished in 7th place, followed by a 15th at Road America, and a DNF 36th at Pocono. Holbert and his co-driver Jim Trueman won the season-ending Daytona 3-hour finale. This victory, along with their other racing accomplishments, was enough to crown Holbert as the 1983 Camel GTP Driver's Champion and March as the Manufacturer's Champion.
After the 1983 season, Holbert needed to make some room in the organization for his new Porsche 962s. March 83G-4 was sold to the owner of Kreepy Krauly, a manufacturer of swimming pool cleaners in South Africa. Drivers Sarel van der Merwe, Graham Duxbury, and Tony Martin won the first race of the year - the 24 Hours of Daytona. The remainder of the 1984 season was met with a moderate level of success. Van der Merwe achieved six top-10 finishes including a win at Lime Rock Park on May 28th.
The March finished its competitive racing career with Jim Hotchkis at the wheel and his co-driver Jim Adams for six events in 1985-1986 with the best result being 6th at Riverside.
Portland-based racer Monte Shelton purchased the car in 1986. It is believed that Shelton raced the car in a single event in Portland before selling it to collector Rasim Tugerk. Mr. Tugerk would own the car for approximately 18 years. A complete overhaul was completed in approximately 2003. The work included stripping the car all the way down to its aluminum honeycomb tub. All mechanical systems were rebuilt including the 935-derived single turbocharged 3.0-liter Porsche flat-six engine. The car was painted in the 1983 CRC/Red Roof Inns livery. Tugberk used the March-Porsche sparingly, with its only apparent on-track appearance being for parade laps at the Rennsport Reunion at Daytona in 2004.
The current owner acquired the car in 2005, with the intent on using it occasionally for vintage racing demonstrations and shows. The car has made track appearances at Pocono, New Jersey Motorsports Park, Laguna Seca, and at Daytona for the 50th anniversary of the 24-hour race that was held in 2012. The livery was changed back to the blue and white Kreepy Krauly paint scheme just prior to the Daytona event to pay homage to the accomplishment of 1984.By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2014
This IMSA GTP Coupe has a remarkable race history. With CRC, Red Roof Inn livery, it won the IMSA GTP Championship with the legendary Al Holbert driving. It then went to the 24 Hour Race at Daytona where it finished first overall - the first Porsche powered GTP to do so. Its flat 6, 3.0 litre engine has a single turbo and produces more than 650 horsepower.
Racing History1983: CRC Sponsored.
27/2: Miami G,P: Holbert, #41; 1st.
24/4: Riverside: Holbert/Trueman, #14; 2nd.
01/5: Laguna Seca: Holbert, #14; 1st.
19/6: Mid-Ohio: Trueman/Bundy, #14; 1st. (Chev engined car).Sold to Cowart/Miller. Red Lobster sponsored.
10/7: Brainerd. Cowart/Miller, #25; 2nd.
24/7: Sears Point: Cowart/Miller, #25; 4th.
31/7: Portland: Cowart/Miller, #25; DNF. (Axle).
14/8: Mosport: Cowart/Miller, #25; 2nd.
21/8: Road America: Cowart/Miller, #25; DNF. (Axle).
11/9: Pocono: Cowart/Miller, #25; DNF. (Axle).
27/11: Daytona Finale: Cowart/Miller, #25; 4th.1984:
4-5/2: Daytona 24-Hours: Cowart/Miller, #25; DNF. (Axle).
25/2: Miami GP: Cowart/Miller; 9th.
24/3: Sebring 12-Hours: Cowart/Miller, #25; DNF. (Axle).
08/4: Road Atlanta: Cowart/Miller, #25; 4th.
29/4: Miller/De Narvaez, #25; 3rd.
06/5: Laguna Seca: Miller, #25; 2nd.
20/5: Charlotte: Cowart/Miller, #25; DNF. (Axle).
28/5: Lime Rock: K. Miller, #25; 6th.
03/6: Mosport 6-Hours: Cowart/Miller, #25; 2nd.
10/6: Mid-Ohio: Cowart/Miller, #25; 18th.
07/7: Watkins Glen: Cowart/Miller, #25; 19th.
29/7: Portland: Cowart/Miller, #25; DNF. (Axle).
05/8: Sears Point: Miller, #25; 6th.
26/8: Road America: Cowart/Miller, #25; DNF. (Axle).
09/9: Pocono: Cowart/Miller, #25; 21st.
15/9: Michigan: Cowart/Miller, #25; 2nd.
30/9: Watkins Glen: Cowart/Miller, #25; DNF. (Axle).
25/9: Daytona Finale: Cowart/Miller, #25; DNF. (Axle).1985:
2-3/2: Daytona 24-Hours: Cowart/Miller, #25; DNF. (Axle).
24/2: Miami GP: Cowart/Miller, #25; DNF. (Axle).10th.
14/4: Road Atlanta: Cowart/Miller, #25; DNF. (Axle).
The early 1980s was an exciting time for motor-sports, especially due to the introduction of the new FISA sanctioned Group C and the IMSA GTP regulations. Group C cars were eligible to contest for the World Championship with such prestigious venues as the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The GTP regulations, though similar to the Group C category, were endurance races in the United States. The purpose for having two similar categories but sanctioned under different governing bodies was create a more level field of cars and to dismantle Porsche's dominance on the sport. Porsche would continue to dominate in the Group C category, however, while the IMSA Category was able to succeed in their goal of attracting a wide range of cars. Group C cars were limited on the amount of fuel they could use per race, while the IMSA cars had displacement criteria based on their minimum weight.
In the Group C category, competition quickly grew as they had better chances of achieving a podium finish. One such company was 'March', who developed a brand new GTP car for this class. With their experience gained from the BMW M1C Formula 1 project, the company was able to quickly develop the March 82G. The car utilized the aluminum honeycomb monocoque chassis used in the BMW M1C, and configured by Adrian Newey and Robin Herd to accept a wide variety of engines. The suspension was comprised of double wishbones in both the front and the back. The body design was courtesy of Max Sardou. It incorporated many ground effect principles with a distinct open hole in the front between the fenders that helped transfer air to the under body venturis. The design would continue to change over the years, though it would keep its nickname 'lobster-claw.'
Mounted mid-ship was a Chevrolet V8 engine mounted at 90-degres. Aluminum was used in the construction to help reduce the overall weight. Fitted with two overhead valves per cylinder, the 350 cubic-inch engine was capable of producing over 600 horsepower. Disc brakes could be found at all four corners, and power was sent to the rear wheels via a five-speed gearbox.
The March 82G made its racing debut at the Daytona 24 Hours where it qualified on pole, an exceptional performance on the inaugural IMSA GTP race. Early on in the race, the car was forced to retire due to problems with the gearbox. The second race of the season was at the Sebring 12 Hours. The March 82G would finish in second behind a Porsche 935.
Three additional cars were built with all but one being fitted with a Chevrolet powerplant. The other car had a BMW six-cylinder engine. None of these cars would have much success in the IMSA GTP category. One March 82G was entered by the factory at the Silverstone and Le Mans race in the Group C category, but it did not have much success.
The highlights for the 82G were at the beginning of the season. With the lessons learner, the March factory built the 83G for the following year. Its design was similar to its predecessor. In total, four examples were built to GTP specification and one to Group C. Nissan purchased one of the cars and Al Holbert purchased the remaining three. Holbert fitted two of them with a Chevy V8 and gave the other a turbocharged flat-six Porsche engine. The Porsche powered car would prove to be very successful and won every race it was entered in that season. Holbert would win the IMSA Championship that year.
For 1984, March introduced their 84G model. Seven examples were created given a variety of engines included a Buick V6 Turbo, Mazda rotary, Porsche flat-six, and a Chevrolet V8. The changes to the car were minor, but sufficient to give drivers Randy Lanier and Bill Whittington a dominant seasons and earning the IMSA championship. This incredible success the March Company was experiencing was to be short lived, as Porsche introduced their flat-six powered Porsche 962 part way through the season. In the capable hands of Al Holbert and Derek Bell, the Porsche 956 earned five victories during the season.
For 1985, March introduced their 85G model. Eleven examples were built. Two of March's customers were BMW and Nissan, with one of the Nissan powered cars achieving a World Championship victory at Fuji. Though it was a win, most of the European manufactures had withdrawn from the race due to the rainy weather and not having proper tires.
The 86G followed the next year, and was commissioned by Nissan in the Group C category, and by BMW for use in GTP racing. Another example was created for a privateer and would become the final GTP/C car built by the March factory.
There were ten examples of the March 86G constructed. BMW purchased six examples and two were later destroyed in fires caused by the turbo chargers. Nissan purchased four examples and prepared them for Le Mans. The BMW cars were run in the IMSA GTP series.
These new March cars were designed by Gordon Coppuck and originally carried the name '86S', with the 'S' symbolizing sport. The cars were very lightweight, thanks in part to their aluminum honeycomb chassis with magnesium bulkheads. The BMW cars were fitted with 2-liter engines that were given additional performance with the assistance of turbochargers.
BMW raced the cars during the season with some success. Most of their attempts at overall victory eluded them due to mechanical or other problems. When BMW halted their support, two of the cars were purchased by Gianpiero Moretti. These two cars were given Buick engines. One was a turbocharged V-6 an the other was a normally-aspirated V-8 unit. Both of these cars raced until 1988.
The BMW 86G cars were very fast, competitive, and lightweight. Their shortcomings were their lack or reliability. With further development, testing, and fine-tuning, they surly could have become consistent front-runners.
By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2009
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