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  Article Image gallery (21) PC4/001 Specifications User Comments (1)  
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Country of origin:United States
Produced in:1976
Numbers built:3
Designed by:Geof Ferris for Penske
Predecessor:Penske PC3 Cosworth
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:February 18, 2011
Download: All images
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Click here to download printer friendly versionTeam Penske has been the dominant force in American road racing in the last four decades. Roger Penske was more than an accomplished driver when he gave up racing in 1964 (after just winning two major races during the Nassau Speed Week) to concentrate on establishing his multi-million dollar business. It took just two years for Penske to return to racing, but this time as an entrant. He began fielding Sunoco sponsored cars in various events for the highly talented Mark Donohue and within a few years the two had clinched championship titles TransAm and Can Am and victories in the Daytona 24 Hours and the Indy 500. The next big challenge was Formula 1 and after giving Donohue his first taste of the class in a privately entered McLaren in 1972, Penske prepared for a full season entry in 1974.

There was much more to it than just entering a new series as for the first time Penske would field his own car. In order to build and develop the new Formula 1 racer, Penske set up shop in Poole, England. Former Brabham draughtsman Geoff Ferris was hired to design it. Dubbed the PC1, Penske's first single seater racing car was wholly conventional with the exception of the rising rate front suspension system. Meticulous preparation was one of the main reasons Penske had been so successful in the past and as a result the new manufacturer spent most of 1974 building and preparing the car to make sure it was absolutely ready. At the time Formula 1 was oversubscribed and Penske surely did not want to see his debut ruined by the car failing to making it to the grid.

The fabulously livered Penske PC1 finally made its first appearance at the Canadian Grand Prix, which was the penultimate race of the season. Despite the lengthy preparation, Donohue's weekend was ruined by a technical problem. He did manage to qualify, but right at the bottom of the grid and in the race could do no better than 12th. During the practice session of the next Grand Prix at Watkins Glen in the United States, the Penske made huge improvements, getting within two seconds of the top times. Sadly Donohue was forced to retire with rear suspension failure. The following winter was used to fine-tune the PC1 for a complete season of racing. The modifications only partly helped and Donohue struggled to get anywhere near the top running Ferraris and McLarens. The best placing was fifth in Sweden. Eventually Penske decided to replace the ailing PC1 with a March 751 to give Donohue a better chance of success.

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  Article Image gallery (21) PC4/001 Specifications User Comments (1)