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  March 731 Cosworth

  Article Image gallery (13) 731-1 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:1973
Numbers built:4
Designed by:Robin Herd for March
Predecessor:March 721G Cosworth
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:February 24, 2014
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Click here to download printer friendly versionThe arrival of March in Formula 1 had not gone by unnoticed; in 1970 Jackie Stewart won what was only the fledgling manufacturer's second Grand Prix. This was followed up in 1971 with what remains as one of the most distinctive F1 machines of the era. More ambitious than ever, March decided to break the mould and develop a new, raised rear suspension. The works team was to run this experimental 721X, while customers had to make do with the 721, which was an evolution of the 1971 car.

Unfortunately, neither car worked particularly well and halfway through the season a third car was developed to satisfy customer needs. Reputedly readied in just nine days, this car was dubbed the 721G. The 'G' was short for 'Guinness' and referred to the remarkably short development period, which was worthy of a mention in the record books. This was only possible because the new F1 racer was actually based on the '722' F2 car. Earlier in the year, March had already built an F5000 version of the 722, so the design was in principle capable of coping with the extra loads.

The nine days were spent to further beef up the F2 design, bringing it up to F1 specification. The monocoque was strengthened to ensure the Cosworth DFV engine could be used as a fully stressed member of the chassis. Stronger suspension components and bigger brakes were also fitted. The thirstier V8 was supplied by two additional fuel tanks fitted on either side of the cockpit. Visually very similar to the F2 car it was based on, the 721G was a crude looking machine with fully exposed radiators.

Despite its appearance and humble beginnings, the 721G actually proved to be the most competitive of the three F1 cars March produced in 1972. The first example was built for Mike Beuttler, who campaigned the car from the Spanish Grand Prix. His results prompted the works team to abandon the earlier designs as well and switch to hastily constructed 721Gs. Niki Lauda and Ronnie Peterson drove for the team that year and the young Swede managed to finish on the podium once with the STP-liveried 721G. Following the disappointing season, both talented drivers not surprisingly moved on.

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  Article Image gallery (13) 731-1 Specifications