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 modest levels of success, including 2nd in the championship in 1971. In 1977, the March Formula 1 team was sold to ATS.
After a half-hearted attempt to achieve Formula 1 success in 1981 and 1982, the company turned its 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.
Adrian Newey became an accomplished designer in the motorsports area, designing numerous racing machines that culminated in Ten Formula 1 Constructor's Titles and two Formula 1 Driver's Titles. The 1985 CART Championship and the Indianapolis 500 of the same year were captured in cars of his design.
Five 83G examples were produced for the 1983 season, four for GTP, and one for Nissan to run in Group C.
The 83G utilized an aluminum honeycomb chassis and clothed with fiberglass. Downforce was generated using both wings and ground effects, and power was sourced from several different types of engines. Of the five cars built, three were equipped with Chevrolet engines and one with a Porsche engine. Although specifications varied, the Chevrolet V8 used an aluminum block and head, a 350 cubic-inch displacement, fuel injection, and delivered upwards of 620 horsepower. The flat-6 all-aluminum Porsche engine displaced 2,994cc and was fuel injected. With the help of a turbocharger, the engine offered around 650 horsepower. Both engines were backed by a five-speed manual transmission.
Al Holbert campaigned two cars with Chevrolet V8 power and one with the turbocharged Porsche engine derived from the Porsche 935. The 'Red Lobster' car used a 360 cubic-inch Chevrolet engine, full ground effects, and weighed approximately 2,200 pounds. It was clocked at 215 mph at Daytona and could travel from zero-to-sixty mph in just three seconds.
by Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2019
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