For 1970 the ambitious March Cars embarked on a programme to build customer racing cars for every major open wheel category from Formula One to Formula Ford and included a 93″ wide two seat closed wheel Group 7 Can Am car for good measure.
Two March 707’s were completed one was run in the 1970 Can Am Challenge by the factory with sponsorship from STP for New Zealander Chris Amon, while the first of the two completed chassis was sold to German Helmut Kelleners who was sponsored by the Deutsche Auto Zeitung periodical in the inaugural Interserie Championship.
Of the two drivers Kelleners had the most success winning Intersiere races at Croft and Hockenheimring, any championship challenge was however halted by a couple of clutch failures and a disqualification from the first Hockenheim race after missing a chicane. Helmut won three non further non championship races in 1970 before he had March #707/1 upgraded to 717 spec for 1971, with new bodywork and the chassis number #717/1 being the most obvious difference.
The revised car was not so competitive and still having transmission problems winning no races in 1971.Austrian Stefan Skelnar bought the car in 1972 and raced #717/1 without any success until at least 1974 eventually refitting the original 707 type bodywork.
The works #707/2 built for Chris Amon was not ready for the opening races of the 1970 Can Am Challenge but qualified a respectable third on it’s debut at Donnybrooke, where Chris finished 5th. At Laguna Seca and Riverside Chris qualified 5th and finished 4th. There after there is no evidence of the car taking part in contemporary events.
March built a spare chassis tub #707/3 and it would appear to have been purchased by Canadian Gordon Dewar and raced in 5 events in the 1971 Can Am challenge after 4 retirements due to transmission and fuel pump issues Gordon is listed as retiring from the fifth due to illness.
In the early 1980’s Ted Williams acquired #707/3 and he is seen driving the car at Brands Hatch where he experienced handling problems due to a low ride height in qualifying and then low fuel pressure during the race. Later in the 80’s Ted survived a chassis shortening accident in #707/3/.
The #77 is so far as I have been able to ascertain Chris Amon’s chassis #707/2 which was being run at the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed for Matteo Maria Tullio.
My thanks to Alan Raine, Simon Lewis and Tim Murray at The Nostalgia Forum for help identifying the #71 chassis number, driver and providing race reports.
Thanks for joining me on this “93” Wide” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you’ll join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Can Am McLaren. Don’t forget to come back now !