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  Article Image gallery (18) 86G-10 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:1986
Internal name:86G
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:June 24, 2021
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Click here to download printer friendly versionMarch was one of the first manufacturers to build customer cars to the new-for-1981 GTP regulations. While the initial customer in 1981 was BMW, most cars built between 1982 and 1985 were sold to privateer racers. These were all an evolution of the same design but for 1986, March created a new racer that was substantially different. Known internally as the 86G, it was built on the behest of BMW and Nissan, who intended to compete with the car in the IMSA GTP and Group C categories respectively.

Designed by Gordon Coppuck, it featured a narrower, stronger aluminium monocoque. Chassis rigidity was improved by substituting much of the sheet aluminium with panels that featured a honeycomb core. The narrower chassis allowed for the radiators to be moved from the nose of the car to the flanks. It also boasted revised suspension that was derived from the March Indy cars and included magnesium uprights and rocker-arm actuated rear springs. For each application, a subtly different body was created that was wider and lower than the previous March designs. Compared to the 85G, the 86G was around 100 kg lighter.

Ahead of the 1986 season, BMW of North America received the first four 86G chassis produced. Once Stateside, the chassis were fitted with a BMW four-cylinder engine that was derived from the successful Formula 1 engines. Developed by McLaren North America, the type M12/14 unit featured the same cast-iron block but with a longer stroke to increase the displacement from 1.5- to 2.0-litres. Equipped with a Garrett AiResearch turbocharger, the relatively small engine produced an impressive 800 bhp at maximum boost. The engine was mated to a March-sourced, five-speed gearbox.

Testing commenced late in 1985 and quickly a major problem emerged. The rear bodywork was prone to catch fire. This was determined to be caused by the bodywork sagging on the hot exhaust at high speeds. By the time, the issue was solved, it was already too late for the cars to take part in the blue ribband Daytona 24 Hours. It was a setback that the BMW North America team struggled all year to rectify. Despite changes made to fix the initial issues, a 'BMW bonfire' became a familiar phrase at IMSA races. The BMW GTPs were quick, which was illustrated by John Andretti and Davy Jones at Watkins Glen where they won from pole position.

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  Article Image gallery (18) 86G-10 Specifications