Those familiar BMW M stripes in a busy pit garage are like a phosphorous candle to the humble moth, especially when they adorn something as sleek and purposeful as a March 782.
Although this particular car wears the Scaini-BMW Junior Team livery seen on the March of 1978 F2 champion Bruno Giacomelli, it is in fact the chassis used by Belgian driver Bernard De Dryver, who endured a rather less successful year, it must be said.
There’s just something special about F2 cars from the late 1970s, particularly this white March with its bluff nose, tall and narrow superstructure and screaming 2-litre BMW engine. The latter puts out at least 300bhp, which, when you consider the car weighs around 500kg, makes these almost delicate looking cars more ferocious than they perhaps appear.
Current owner/driver Steve Allen should know: in recent years he’s raced a variety of F1 machinery, including an Arrows A1. But, with the cost to compete in historic F1 now so great, he’s bought the howling March to continue his single-seater racing: ‘F1 was my dream, and it’s great to have done it, but I’m happy to be doing this – F1 is too expensive now.’
It’s a new car, in a new colour scheme, and with a new team in Complete Motorsport Solutions, for Allen. First shakedown was just two weeks prior to the Festival and Steve reports they’ve not had to change anything since, with third on the grid their reward.
‘Of course, the power is less than an F1’, he adds. ‘But the lap times aren’t a million miles away. It’s fast – a March is generally a fast car in a straight line. In a F1 (car) you had a lot of power that could get you out of a situation; with this you have to maintain momentum through a corner. As you’d expect, it feels somewhere between an F1 and F3 car. There’s a good group of people racing here – we’re racing for fun and we want to enjoy it.’
Photography by Chris McEvoy