This vehicle, seen at Goodwood Festival of Speed, was driven to Victory Lane at the Indy 500 in 1986 by Bobby Rahal in one of the closest three way finishes in Indy history. Bobby beat Kevin Cogan and Rick Mears to the line with the fastest race lap, ever at the time, of 209.153 mph.
11 days after Rahals win his team owner, Jim Trueman, succumbed to cancer.
The 1986 victory was the first time the Indy 500 had been won in under 3 hours, Rahal completed the distance in 2 hrs, 55 mins, 43.470 secs averaging 170.722 mph breaking a record set by Mark Donohue in 1972.
The March 86 C became a two time Indy 500 winning design the following year when Roger Penske pulled his old March 86 C from a show at the Sheraton Hotel in Reading Pennsylvania so that Al Unser could stand in for an injured Danny Ongais. Starting from 20th Al took his March to his 4th Indy 500 win.
In the process the March Cosworth combination took its 5th consecutive Indy 500 and Al Unser, who in ’78 had taken the first Cosworth DFX to victory also took the tenth and final Cosworth DFX powered victory at the Brickyard.
Bobby Rahal went on to become 1986 CART champion a title he retained in 1987 and won for a third time, now as a driver owner in partnership with Carl Hogan, in 1992. In 1984 Bobby made one NASCAR Cup start as a road ringer in the Wood Bros #21 Seven/Eleven Ford at Riverside, qualifying 20th coming in 40th winning $875 for his trouble.
A couple of weeks ago I visited the Haynes International Motor Museum and came across a second March 86C, chassis 5, originally driven by Micheal Andretti. Micheal qualified 3rd one spot ahead of Bobby in a #18 Kraco March 86C and came in 6th one lap down at Indy in 1986.
In an open wheel career spanning 1983 – 2007 spent 18 years driving in CART Championship cars, Micheal won the CART Championship in 1991 driving for Newman / Hass and finished 2nd in the Championship 5 times including the 1986 season during which he won 3 times driving a #18 Kraco March.
Andretti has a remarkable record at Indy of leading 431 laps on nine occasions but never winning the race as a driver, however as an owner of the Andretti Green Racing team his cars won the Indy 500 in 2005 with Dan Weldon at the wheel and 2007 with Dario Franchitti at the wheel AGR has also won three IRL campionships with Tony Kanaan 2004, Weldon ’05 and Franchitti ’07.
The car seen above was on pole at Pocono and won at Phoenix International Raceway by a clear lap. This particular vehicle has appeared at Goodwood Festival of Speed driven by owner Nick Mason, and former Indy 500 winners Bobby Rahal and Danny Sullivan.
Thank you for visiting this King of Speed edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !