conceptcarz.com

1972 Williams Iso-Marlboro FX3

It is not uncommon for race cars to have several designations, and that is true for this car. Competition careers of some racecars spanned decades, and their designation often changes based on updates to their specifications, new sponsorship, or new ownership. This Formula 1 racer was constructed by Frank Williams Racing Cars, and its competition name was initially the Politoys FX3, but later renamed 'ISO-Marlboro.' The 'FW' designation would be used from 1974 forward.

Frank Williams commissioned Len Bailey to design the FX3 for the 1971 season. It was given a conventional shape used by many successful F1 teams of the era and covered the monocoque chassis built by Mo Gomm and its Cosworth DFV V8 engine. Major sponsorship money was provided by Politoys.

The FX3 was not ready for the start of the 1971 season, so Williams raced a March 711. For the following season, he assigned a March 721 to French driver Henri Pescarolo. The car was wrecked early in the season - at the French Grand Prix - but thankfully, the Bailey-designed F1 car was finally completed.

Following brief testing at Goodwood, the FX3 made its racing debut at the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch. Due to teething issues with its handling and engine, Pescarolo was relegated to the back of the grid. It completed just seven laps before mechanical failure caused Pescarolo to lose control of the car, crashing into the barrier.

By the time the damage sustained during the accident at Brands Hatch was repaired, the season was nearly over. Chris Amon drove it in the John Player Challenge Trophy, but the untested car needed more refinement to become a contender.

For the 1973 season, a second car was built, incorporating modifications that earned it the FX3B designation. The original car was improved as well and assigned to 'Nanni' Galli. Howden Ganley was tasked with driving FX3B.

By this point in history, Politoys had withdrawn its financial support, so the car was now known as the Iso-Marlboro, again in recognition of its major sponsors. Marlboro's involvement in Formula One began with sponsorship of BRM, and although sponsors liked to be associated with winning teams, the major corporation later saw value in supporting the 'underdog.' The Iso company of Renzo Rivolta lacked Marlboro's financial stability but agreed to be a major sponsor. They built their first GT car in 1962, followed by the Grifo, Lele and Rivolta later in the decade. Economic issues of the early 1970s, complicated by the social crisis of the era, the emission regulations in the United States, and the oil crisis, led to the end of Iso car production on December 31, 1974.

At times in Formula One, it's not the competition that provides the biggest hurdles but rather the rapidly changing regulations. For the FX3B, its F1 racing career was brief when it failed to meet the 'deformable structure' requirements that were enforced in April 1973.

The original Williams / Politoy / Iso-Marlboro FX3 raced in four Grand Prix events (British Grand Prix in 1972; Argentinian, Brazilian, and South African Grand Prix in 1973). It was a spare for the 1972 Italian Grand Prix at Monza but did not race. It also raced at the John Player Challenge Trophy in 1972 and the Race of Champions in 1973. At the latter, it had its best finish of fourth place (driven by Tony Trimmer).

The second car (FX3/2 or FX3B) raced in three events during the 1973 season, with its best finish being a 7th place at the Brazilian Grand Prix. It placed 10th at the South African Grand Prix. Closing out the 1973 season, it raced at the Race of Champions in March and at the International Trophy the following month. On both occasions, it was forced to retire before the checkered flag dropped.

After its F1 racing career came to a close, FX3/2 was converted to Formula 5000 specifications and raced in libre events. It placed second at a libre race at Mallory Park in June 1983 and fourth at the same venue the following month.

FX3/2 has been returned to its original Formula One configuration. Both cars had been campaigned in historic racing events.


By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2024

Recent Vehicle Additions

Related Automotive News

Mansell Mania Returns As Williams Celebrates Its 40Th Anniversary At The Silverstone Classic

Mansell Mania Returns As Williams Celebrates Its 40Th Anniversary At The Silverstone Classic

Dramatic demonstrations by Nigel Mansells title-winning FW14B Renault V10-powered F1™ car performing on Saturday and Sunday It will be an utterly unforgettable experience for visitors All tickets for the Classic must be purchased in advance I...
The Motor Sport Hall Of Fame Awards Shortlist Of Contenders Is Announced!

The Motor Sport Hall Of Fame Awards Shortlist Of Contenders Is Announced!

Some of the greatest names in motor sport history make up the shortlist of contenders for this years Motor Sport Hall of Fame ceremony. Set to take place at the stunning Royal Automobile Club at Woodcote Park on Wednesday June 7, the event will add...
£10 Million Le Mans Bentley Speed 8 To Be Reunited With Tom Kristensen At Race Retro

£10 Million Le Mans Bentley Speed 8 To Be Reunited With Tom Kristensen At Race Retro

The Bentley Speed 8, raced by Tom Kristensen to secure the win in the 2003 24hrs of Le Mans, will be reunited with the legendary racer at Race Retro, the international historic motorsport show held at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, from 24-26 February. With...
WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING TO FIELD HOST OF ICONIC FORMULA ONE CARS AT AUTOSPORT INTERNATIONAL

WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING TO FIELD HOST OF ICONIC FORMULA ONE CARS AT AUTOSPORT INTERNATIONAL

Autosport International is proud to announce the legendary Williams Formula One cars set to appear at the 2017 show Display will include the FW07 which gave Williams its first victory, Nigel Mansells 1992 Drivers Championship-winning FW14B, Damon...
1968 Belgian Grand Prix: A First for McLaren

1968 Belgian Grand Prix: A First for McLaren

McLaren and Formula One are truly synonymous. Over the course of its history, McLaren has completed 714 races and have garnered no less than 178 victories. But while McLaren and victory in Formula One are an almost certainty, the very first would be...