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  Article Image gallery (54) Chassis (3) Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:1971
Numbers built:6
Predecessor:March 701 Cosworth
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:April 29, 2016
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Click here to download printer friendly versionOne of the most instantly recognisable Formula 1 cars of the period was the 1971 March 711 thanks to its unique 'tea tray' or 'Spitfire' front wing. The 711 superseded the manufacturer's first ever F1 car, which helped Jackie Stewart win a Grand Prix and March place third in the 1970 constructor's championship. The car's design was the joint work of aerodynamicist Frank Costin and former Lotus engineer Geoff Ferris.

While at Lotus, Ferris had helped design the revolutionary Type 72 and used the lessons learned to create the March 711. As on the Lotus, the radiators were mounted on either side of the chassis in small 'side-pods.' Initially, the 711 also featured in-board front brakes but several failures prompted March to revert to a more conventional configuration. As before, the new March boasted the readily available powertrain consisting of the Cosworth DFV V8 engine and Hewland five-speed gearbox.

With the radiators removed from the nose, the 711 chassis provided Costin with a virtually blank canvas. He decided to wrap the entire car as tightly as possible with body panels to reduce drag. Around the engine, some of the panels ultimately could not be used as it caused the car to overheat. During the season, a raised airbox was also added to ram more air into the V8 engine. The most distinct feature of the Costin design was the elliptically shaped, raised wing mounted above the round nose. Its shape was reminiscent of the wing design of the legendary Spitfire fighter plane.

Ronnie Peterson was the lead driver for the team, initially joined by pay-driver Alex Soler-Roig, while cars were also fielded for Mike Beutler and a young Niki Lauda, who made his F1 debut in a 711. Early in the year, the STP-backed March team struggled and even briefly considered an alternative for the DFV in the form of an Alfa Romeo V8 but that did not prove a viable option. By the second half of the season, Peterson used the latest specification DFV to greater effect, finishing runner-up four times in 11 attempts. Although the young Swede did not win a race, he was second in the driver's championship and March tied for third with Ferrari.

A total of six March 711s were built, which included several customer cars. March started the 1972 season with barely updated 711s, while it worked on a number of new designs. A total of three new F1 cars emerged that year but none was particularly successful. The British manufacturer would carry on in F1 for many more years but the third place in the championship of 1970 and 1971 would not be matched or beaten.

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  Article Image gallery (54) Chassis (3) Specifications