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Lauda and the March 732


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#1 Jon Saltinstall

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 16:28

According to "The Heavily Censored History Of Hesketh Racing", which I believe was a self-produced promotional publication issued in 1974, Lauda did much of the development work on the new-for-1973 F2 March 732 with Harvey Postlethwaite when both were with the works team. I quote;

 

"...the ultra-slippery 732, powered by the punchy BMW motor, walked the European Formula 2 Championship with ease. ironically, the man who did most of the initial testing on the 732 was no longer driving for March and reaping the benefits. That was Niki Lauda, the young Austrian who'd pursued a road to the BRM camp in his journey towards the Ferrari team, and it was with a tinge of regret in his voice that he sidled up to Harvey in the pits at last year's [1973's] Italian GP muttering "...vell,our bloody car won the championship, I see."

 

This is the only reference I've ever seen to Lauda driving the 732, though maybe it isn't surprising as he did test and race the 73S 2-litre sports car that used a version of the same power unit that was developed concurrently. Can anyone cast any light on where and when the 732 F2 tests were conducted with Lauda at the helm, and - better still - do any pictures exist?


Edited by Jon Saltinstall, 06 October 2016 - 16:28.


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#2 MCS

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 20:49

Interesting post, Jon.  :up:

 

Lauda had a full nosed front-radiator version 722 at Oulton Park for the last round of the 1972 JPS UK series - I think Alan Cox has posted pictures on here previously (main TNF forum) and Peterson raced a similar/same car at the last proper F2 championship round at Hockenheim.  Looks like they missed the previous Albi race - where I now notice Dave Morgan took pole in the Tui.  Totally underrated racing driver.  How easy it is to forget.  The first time he raced a F5000 car he also took pole position, but didn't start due to a mechanical problem.  

 

Anyway, back on topic. March also missed the South American Winter series that year (Ronnie raced a Rondel BT38, now with full nose)  Maybe that was when Lauda was testing - he wasn't there.  Didn't know that Postlethwaite was involved with F2 at March.  Always thought he was involved with the F1 team.

 

V2 - shouldn't this excellent topic be on the main TNF forum (assuming Jon agrees of course)?


Edited by MCS, 21 November 2016 - 19:14.


#3 Jon Saltinstall

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 22:36

I've certainly no objection to this topic being on the main forum, if that's considered more appropriate.

It's an interesting point regarding the full width nose on the late season 722; this was quite different in design (more akin to 1973 BRM appendage) whereas the 732's nose had more in common with the later 741/2/3 - 761/2 F2-based successors. I understand that the 732 was in any case a development of the successful 712 series rather than the less well-regarded 722.

The possible timing of the 732 tests with the temporada races seems to fit - he certainly was still under contract late enough in 1972 for the South African sports car events. Not sure when his BRM contract kicked in though; this in turn makes me start considering whether he tested any 1972-spec P160Bs, or if he was straight into the P160C ahead of the Argentine GP?

I'll have another look in the Hesketh book if it casts any more light on Postlethwaite's work with the F2 cars.

Edited by Jon Saltinstall, 25 October 2016 - 22:39.


#4 MCS

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Posted 26 October 2016 - 11:41

I imagine that the Hesketh book is probably worth a fair price.  I have been looking for a copy for years.

 

Does Lauda say anything in his books about winter testing in 1972?



#5 Jon Saltinstall

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Posted 26 October 2016 - 20:12

Truth be told, it's more of a magazine than a book - it's a card cover and only runs to 46 pages. Very much written in a journalese style as a "for the fans" behind-the-scenes tale, i guess it captures pretty well the mood of the equipe as it was then. You can sometimes pick up a copy for £20 or so on ebay if you're lucky.

I have all of Lauda's books, but none say anything about the winter 1972 tests...

#6 Jon Saltinstall

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Posted 26 October 2016 - 20:53

Have looked through the Hesketh book again to see what's said about Postlethwaite and the F2 cars. Apparently HP joined March from ICI's R&D department, allegedly selected from 250 candidates (though this may be Robin Herd spin). The book then continues:

"Most of his research time was initially spent developing the 1972 Formula 2 and 3 machines, both of which proved remarkably slow in a straight line, as well as being unpleasant cars to drive. A scale model of the Formula 2 car was built up and whisked down to the Southampton University wind tunnel where a delighted Harvey spent many hours with strands of cotton proving that the car had the aerodynamic efficiency of the average brick wall, while at the same time improving it for 1973."

Hope this clarifies!

Edited by Jon Saltinstall, 26 October 2016 - 20:54.


#7 MCS

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Posted 26 October 2016 - 21:25

Wow. Pity it's only 46 pages, Jon!

 

Fascinating that the 72 cars were "remarkably slow" - they were like spears as I recall, although the initial works F3 drivers (Hunt and McInernay) were replaced, both having been unhappy with the competitiveness of their cars.  Then of course the 723 was modified - as I am sure you recall.  But who was responsible for those little pods at the front replacing the front wings, even on the private McKechnie car for Bob Evans?

 

Jochen Mass and Russell Wood became the works drivers before the sudden appearance of Jarier at the end of the season, as we know.

 

(If we keep this here, this could become our own private thread!!)

 

Best Regards

Mark



#8 Jon Saltinstall

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Posted 26 October 2016 - 22:09

A further thought, Mark; this is I think the first reference to Lauda being seen as a competent development driver. Perhaps a recognition of him being right in his assessment of the 721X earlier in the season?

As far as the spear- like 722/723s are concerned, I recall reading somewhere that they suffered significant front-end lift, which may well have slowed them in a straight line. This probably accounts for the front wing endplate "spats" on the later-season 723 which look rather like the work of HP.

Neither Mike Lawrence's March marque history nor David Hodges' "A to Z of Formula Racing Cars" make reference to the 723's modifications.

Lauda's 721G appeared at Monza and in practice for the Canadian GP with a full width nose, of course, which would be around the time Postlethwaite was developing this theory with the F2 cars.

I think the 732 may be the first car to feature a "splitter" - Postlethwaite mentions this in the Hesketh book, and the precursors with full width noses (Tyrrell, Surtees etc) didn't feature such a device.


Edited by Jon Saltinstall, 22 November 2016 - 17:31.


#9 MCS

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Posted 31 October 2016 - 21:15

Hi Jon.

 

Yes, the 732 may have seen the first "full nose" splitter, as you say; but didn't the Guthrie 702s - for himself and Peterson in 1970 - not have some sort of a similar arrangement, albeit with a traditional front-rad/twin-winged nose?

 

I may be wrong, I may be dreaming, but have a look here: http://www.marchives...istypes-gallery

 

Scroll down to the 702. Well "preserved" but actually real....?



#10 Jon Saltinstall

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Posted 01 November 2016 - 22:24

Hi Mark

Mike Lawrence's March book doesn't say anything specifically about the 702 aero feature, but says "...the 703 led the field in that department (braking), but the aerodynamics were not special and the cars soon sprouted bib spoilers." That is probably a better description of what's shown in the picture, more so than a splitter?

#11 E1pix

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Posted 02 November 2016 - 21:10

Nothing to add but have really enjoyed the above collective input from you guys. Great stuff!

And I'm another who pounced on that Hesketh publication in the day. :-)

Edited by E1pix, 02 November 2016 - 21:11.


#12 Jon Saltinstall

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 19:41

Had a look at the Motor Sport archive for the Italian & Canadian Grands Prix (where Lauda used the twin radiator /wide nose set up) and also for the F2 season notes; sadly neither has anything extra to say about the devices, but it was worth checking...

 

I'll have a look at Autocourse later.....got a bee in my bonnet about this now!



#13 ian senior

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Posted 19 November 2016 - 12:10

Mind if I interrupt your thread?

 

It's interesting that Dave Morgan's 703 normally ran with a full complement of front and rear wings, and not the half-hearted beard thing that appeared on the works cars (and the 702).  Morgan's car was usually the quickest of the 703s and I remember reading that one of the works drivers complained that the factory wanted them to develop the cars without wings, which may account for their underwhelming performance.

 

I agree 100% with your description of Morgan, Mark, but don't care for the initals of the words!  He really was seriously quick and it's interesting to reflect that in early 1972 he looked like the man of the moment whereas his old sparring partner James Hunt's career appeared to be on the skids.

 

And I may be wrong, but wasn't   the bullet type nose that appeared later on the 723 first shown on the McKechnie car?



#14 Jon Saltinstall

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Posted 19 November 2016 - 20:50

Fully agree regarding Morgan - he was spectacular at Crystal Palace in 1971 and his season-opening F2 win in 1972 shook the establishment.

Back to the 732; Autocourse reported that the car's success was due to "a combination of a chassis which clearly handled and braked better than any other; tyres (Goodyear, which were totally superior at that time); an engine with a lot of torque but only level with the Ford with regard to top-end power and a driver performing as if the survival of the world were dependent upon it."

Nothing specific regarding the aerodynamics, but the consensus from the other sources seems to be that the combination of the developed 712 chassis with Postlethwaite's fairy dust and Mosley-sourced power unit and rubber was a step ahead of the opposition.

Edited by Jon Saltinstall, 19 November 2016 - 20:50.


#15 MCS

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 19:24

Mind if I interrupt your thread?

 

It's interesting that Dave Morgan's 703 normally ran with a full complement of front and rear wings, and not the half-hearted beard thing that appeared on the works cars (and the 702).  Morgan's car was usually the quickest of the 703s and I remember reading that one of the works drivers complained that the factory wanted them to develop the cars without wings, which may account for their underwhelming performance.

 

I agree 100% with your description of Morgan, Mark, but don't care for the initals of the words!  He really was seriously quick and it's interesting to reflect that in early 1972 he looked like the man of the moment whereas his old sparring partner James Hunt's career appeared to be on the skids.

 

And I may be wrong, but wasn't   the bullet type nose that appeared later on the 723 first shown on the McKechnie car?

 

Hi Ian

 

Good to hear from you. 

 

I have changed the initials in my post (thanks).  

 

I suspect you are correct in your observation that the first podded nose on a 723 was the Evans car.  I even have a picture somewhere at an August Oulton Park meeting.  Posting it on here these days is a bridge too far, sadly.

 

Mark



#16 Jon Saltinstall

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 17:29

Hi Mark

 

I did find this image of Evan's pod-nosed 723, from the October 1st Mallory Park meeting (apologies to the copyright holder if there is one):

 

March723b.jpg



#17 MCS

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 18:42

Whilst I try to find my (no doubt rubbish) picture of the podded McKechnie 723, I came across this:  http://only-carz.com.../march-723.html

 

Intriguing that Barrie Maskell should be in Stan Matthews' 723 at Croft (last picture)...



#18 Jon Saltinstall

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 19:26

It does rather lead one to question why something similar to the bullet nose & spats from the McKechnie 723 wasn't transferred to the later season 722, the team instead opting for the full width device seen at Oulton Park as noted earlier. Perhaps Postlethwaite's (?) solution was more effective; or maybe it was just because the McKechnie devices weren't developed by the works?

#19 Jon Saltinstall

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 17:10

And then, of course, there is this....

 

712M alternate nose; Peterson, Brands Hatch 30/8/1971

 

March_712.jpg



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#20 MCS

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 20:32

......I think the 732 may be the first car to feature a "splitter" - Postlethwaite mentions this in the Hesketh book, and the precursors with full width noses (Tyrrell, Surtees etc) didn't feature such a device......

 

Hi Jon

 

I have spotted a "splitter" on the Sid Taylor works F5000 Chevron in 1972 on Tony Gallagher's Facebook page (Giraffe on here, of course).  The picture shows the B24 on the grid at Riverside with Brian Redman at the wheel with Sid and various others, including TNFer Jerry Entin.  The nose also sports "fences" on both sides.  

 

Whilst I can't post the picture here, sadly, perhaps we could ask Tony to oblige...?

 

(I will PM him).

 

Mark


Edited by MCS, 22 December 2016 - 20:33.


#21 Giraffe

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Posted 26 December 2016 - 14:07



Hi Jon

 

I have spotted a "splitter" on the Sid Taylor works F5000 Chevron in 1972 on Tony Gallagher's Facebook page (Giraffe on here, of course).  The picture shows the B24 on the grid at Riverside with Brian Redman at the wheel with Sid and various others, including TNFer Jerry Entin.  The nose also sports "fences" on both sides.  

 

Whilst I can't post the picture here, sadly, perhaps we could ask Tony to oblige...?

 

(I will PM him).

 

Mark

PJ7y2y.jpg[/IMG]



#22 MCS

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Posted 26 December 2016 - 16:10

Thanks Tony :up:  

 

Compliments of the season!

 

All the best.

 

Mark



#23 Jon Saltinstall

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Posted 10 March 2018 - 12:09

Somewhat belatedly, I have found this reference from Autosport in June 1972:

 

After the Crystal Palace race, Lauda tested March 722-5 at Goodwood with the new F3 body attached to it. The experiment was not entirely successful, with too much downforce at the front end and the 150 cm maximum F3 body width just not enough to counteract the pressure. This caused the rear end to become decidedly skittish, and Lauda’s test session ended with a big spin.

 

Would this be "732-style" bodywork, one wonders? It would be great to see a picture.....



#24 Doug Nye

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 22:00

 I do remember Harvey talking animatedly - as he often did - about a first full-width nose tested for, or on (or both) for what became the Hesketh March of '74 which performed so effectively in Hunt's hands. He just referred to it as "Silly Nose".   As in "So we then fitted Silly Nose and James clipped half a second off his previous best time" - or "James wanted to try Silly Nose again and when he came in he was raving about an extra 200revs before the end of the straight..." etc.

 

DCN



#25 Mallory Dan

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 18:46

Hesketh March in 1973, Doug. Sorry!



#26 Doug Nye

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Posted 17 October 2018 - 20:08

No need whatsoever for an apology...  

 

DCN



#27 MCS

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Posted 17 October 2018 - 21:10

Somewhat belatedly, I have found this reference from Autosport in June 1972:

 

After the Crystal Palace race, Lauda tested March 722-5 at Goodwood with the new F3 body attached to it. The experiment was not entirely successful, with too much downforce at the front end and the 150 cm maximum F3 body width just not enough to counteract the pressure. This caused the rear end to become decidedly skittish, and Lauda’s test session ended with a big spin.

 

Would this be "732-style" bodywork, one wonders? It would be great to see a picture.....

 

I can only think of the nose as being really different, on the basis that radiator repositioning would have been much more complex. 

 

They clearly experimented though.  Two different noses/configurations at the wonderful Oulton Park F2 event that Autumn of course - see Alan Cox's pictures somewhere on here if you can master the search function.