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  March 707 Chevrolet
 

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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:1970
Numbers built:3
Designed by:Robin Herd for March
Successor:March 717 Chevrolet
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:December 30, 2013
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Click here to download printer friendly versionIn 1969 four kindred spirits, each with a particular expertise and background founded a new racing car manufacturer. It was named March; an acronym of the founders Max Mosley, Alan Rees, Graham Coaker and Robin Herd. A single Formula 3 car was produced in 1969, but for 1970 a range of no fewer than seven different models was planned, headlined by a Formula 1 car. Robin Herd of McLaren fame was responsible for the designs of the new cars. Considering that his previous work included the 1967 Can-Am winning McLaren M6, it was no surprise that the March line-up also included a Group 7 sportsracer.

In the second half of the 1960s, the Canadian American Challenge (Can-Am) had become incredibly popular. The cars competing in the Can-Am were based on the virtually unrestricted Group 7 regulations, making them among the fastest machines ever raced. Inspired by the success in North America, the Europeans set up a similar racing series dubbed the 'Interserie', which welcomed both Group 7 Can-Am cars and the Group 5 cars raced in the World Championship. The prospect of potential customers on both sides of the Atlantic and the high profile series made the Group 7 March a priority.

Herd's design followed that of the McLaren M8 with a full width aluminium monocoque. The monocoque ended right after the cockpit with the engine and gearbox mounted in an easily detachable steel subframe. Suspension was by double wishbones on both ends and vented discs provided the stopping power. Power came from a massive big block Chevrolet V8 engine, producing well over 700 bhp. The most unusual part of the highly conventional package was the body, which featured a full width front wing with moveable canards. The nose design was similar to that of the 1970 March Formula 1 car. Continuing March' simple naming policy, the new racer was dubbed 707; the 1970 Group 7 car.

The first chassis was completed and sold to German racing driver Helmut Kelleners. He ran the car in the maiden Interserie championship, scoring a win in the final round. Painted in a lively red and sponsored by STP, the second chassis was entered by the Works in the final three rounds of the 1970 Can-Am series for Chris Amon. Herd did not have the illusion that the 707 could immediately challenge the dominant McLarens and wanted to use the three races to iron out the bugs. Amon impressed with a third on the grid at the car's debut. He eventually finished the race in fifth and then scored two fourth place finishes. It is safe to say that the new March performed surprisingly well, despite being slightly overweight.

Both cars were returned to the factory, where Kelleners' chassis was upgraded. The 'hammerhead' nose was discarded and the nose mounted radiators moved to the side of the engine. The revised version was dubbed the 717 and returned to Germany. Kelleners struggled throughout the season with reliability issues and at the end of the year sold the car to Austrian Stefan Sklenar. He sporadically raced the March, but again with little luck. After its return to the factory, the Works car was repaired and used for demonstration purposes. Despite the promising start, March did not return to the Can-Am Challenge. Later in the decade a third, spare chassis was turned into a racing car, fitted with the 707 style bodywork.

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  Article Image gallery (26) Chassis (1) Specifications User Comments (1)