The 1974 March 741 was a logical refinement of designer Robin Herd's idea to marry his dominant straight-forward F2 chassis with the Cosworth DFV for F1. it was a theme which proved very aerodynamically efficient and would be continued through 1976.
This car, chassis 741-1, was driven by young German star Hans-Joachim Stuck in the first seven races of 1974, finishing brilliantly in the World Championship points with a 4th in the Spanish Grand Prix and 5th in the South African Grand Prix. Stuck followed with top ten qualifications in Belgium and Monaco. 741-1 was driven by Sweden's Reine Wisell in the Swedish Grand Prix at Anderstop and by Italian Vittorio Brambilla in the Frend Grand Prix at Dijon-Prenois. Stuck then drove it home in 7th place in his home German Grand Prix at Nurburgring with backing from his F2 sponsor, Jagermeister.
Today: After being withdrawn from works team competition, 741-1 was purchased by Sir Nick Williamson to contest the 1976 RAC British Hill-Climb Championship, the former Champion winning at Bouley Bay. For 1977 Roy lane purchased the car and rebuilt it as a hill-climb special, winning at Le Val des Terres, Prescott and Doune. Retired in 1985, 741-1 sat mothballed until 2005 when purchased by the current owner. Owner/driver Steve Cook of Yountville California took two years to restore 741-1 to the 1974 F1 specifications and livery as last seen at the Nurburgring in 1974.
The late 1950s and early 1960s was a revolutionary time for many Formula racing series, as the benefits of mid-engine placement were utilized and cars made the drastic switch. This simple change of moving the engine from in front of the driver to behind, had a profound effect on performance and drastically changed the way the mechanical components operated.
In the early 1960s, Formula 1 regulations limited engine displacement to just 1.5-liters. By the mid-1960s, the regulations were changed, capping displacement at 3-liters.
For the 1967 season, Colin Chapman approached his friends Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth - the founders of the Cosworth engine company - to produce a suitable engine to comply with F1 specifications. They were interested but lacked the necessary resources to produce the engine. Lotus, who had just won the Indy 500 with Ford, persuaded Ford to help fund the project. Thus, the birth of the Ford and Cosworth relationship.
Cosworth modified a four-cylinder Ford engine into a 16-valve, FVA engine that displaced 1600cc and complied with Formula 2 regulations. This engine would become the basis for the 3-liter V8 DFV engines. The DFV, short for Double Four Valve, had dual overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. It was cast from aluminum by Cosworth and fitted with a fuel injection system. In this guise, the engine was capable of producing 400 horsepower. By the late 1960s, nearly ever team was using the Cosworth engine and it accounted for every victory in 1968, except one.
Obviously, the sport was rapidly changing and even aerodynamic aids such as wings had become popular and effective. March added their own unique feature to the sport of F1 by being the first to offer customer chassis.
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 its first four races, it earned three victories, though the Spanish GP race was the only one that earned points toward the Championship.
The March 701 was off to a great start, but this was short lived as manufacturers continued to develop and fine-tune their F1 cars. As the season wore on, the competition only got stronger. To make things worse, Stewart had switched to a Tyrrell.
March sold 11 F1 cars in 1970, yet found themselves in financial difficulties at the end of the season. In order for March to survive in this very competitive arena, March required an even better chassis. Their hopes lay in the March 711, with the chassis designed by ex-Lotus employee Geoff Ferris and the body by legendary Frank Costin. At the front of the car was an unusual, yet creative, 'tea-tray' front wing. In the capable hands of Swedish driver Ronnie Petterson, the car finished second in the driver's championship and March found themselves third in the constructor's championship.
For 1972, March introduced the 721X (the X representing experimental) which featured a new rear suspension comprised of high-mounted rear springs. March worked aggressively to better the cars weight distribution by employing a number of techniques and repositioning of components. The gearbox was placed between the engine and the rear axle, instead of the conventional position of behind the rear axle. With these changes in place, the 721X made its racing debut at the Spanish Grand Prix in Jarama. Two cars were entered, one driven by Niki Lauda and the other by Ronnie Peterson. This would not be a historic day for the cars, as the weight was too heavy for the front Goodyear tires causing problems in the corners such as under- and over-steer.
The March 721X raced in three more Grand Prix events before it was replaced by the March 721G.
1973 was a dismal year for March in Formula 1 competition. The four extant 721Gs were re-bodied and given nose-mounted radiators to comply with racing regulations. Though they were not new chassis, they were given a new name - the 731.
For the 1974 and 1975 season, March offered their 741. The factory team, in 1974, ran Howden Ganley until his funds dried up. Then Hans-Joachim Stuck in a Jagermeister-sponsored car and Vittorio Brambilla in a Beta Tools-sponsored car became the team drivers. Brabilla would continue the following year, with a surprising victory at the 1975 Austrian Grand Prix. The event had been shortened due to ran. Lella Lombardi ran in the second car and would be the only woman to score a Championship point in F1. By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2009
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