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1985 March 85G Buick GTP

Daytona 24 Hour Polesitter. McLaren designed Powerplant!

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sold

VIN 85G-1
Exterior Color Blue and White Livery
Interior Color Black
Engine Buick 6-Cylinder Turbo By McLaren
Transmission 5-Speed
Status Sold
Stock FJ1310

Comments

*** This March GTP car is not currently located at Fantasy Junction but is available to be inspected on the East Coast of the United States***


 


1985 March GTP
s/n 85G-1
White and Blue Livery


 


The IMSA series was founded in 1969 and racing debuted in 1971 at Virginia International Raceway. Through the years, the series underwent several changes and in 1977, IMSA permitted turbocharged cars for the first time. In 1981, purpose-built GTP cars (Grand Touring Prototypes) debuted in the IMSA Series, these cars were similar to the “new” FIA Group C cars which would be introduced to the World Endurance Championship in 1982. The primary difference between these two categories was that the GTP cars had no emphasis on fuel consumption which was highlighted by Derek Bell quoting "race fans do not come to races to watch an economy run!". Sir Brian Redman was the first Champion of the GTPs, driving a Lola T-600 with a Chevrolet engine. March also fielded prototypes, in which Al Holbert won the 1983 championship with a Chevrolet powered car, then changing to Porsche power later in the season. 1984 also saw the introduction of the Porsche 962, which dominated the series from 1985 to 1987. Perhaps most notable, the GTP category of race cars was credited for many innovations in the United States auto industry including antilock brakes, traction control, and active suspension.

Phil Conte was originally from Brooklyn, but spent the early part of his life in California. With a background in electrical manufacturing, building high-voltage switch gear, Phil got bit by the racing bug in 1975 while watching the Long Beach Grand Prix. He later met with John Morton and expressed an interest in getting involved with Can Am racing. A few years later, with the Can Am series in decline, Phil jumped on the opportunity to race prototypes in the GTP class.

In 1983 the team did not do well, with Morton and Lobenberg taking two seconds at Sears Point and Portland, and in 1984 the team started with an eleventh place at Daytona and a third at Miami. The remainder of the season was a string of runner-up finishes, but no win. Things would change by the end of 1984, when Phil Conte was approached by Buick.

The team was then paired up with McLaren who would tend to the Buick engines and the team knew they would have horsepower; Phil Conte Racing was suddenly the official factory team for Buick. During the 1985 season, the car did exceptionally well in qualifying but race results proved elusive. With John Paul Jr. and Bill Adam driving, Conte Racing was on the pole for the 1985 Daytona 24 Hour race.

The best finish for s/n 85G-1 was a fifth during the 1985 season, but the cars and team repeatedly showed well in qualifying. Subsequent type 85G March chassis went on to additional accomplishments into the 1987 season at which point the now-iconic Porsche 962 was achieving a domination stronghold on the entire series.

Since its period racing history, s/n 85G had been purchased out of long term storage by Ray Langstrom of Miami, Florida and restored to track ready condition within his significant competition automobile workshop. The body and paintwork remain largely undisturbed from its period heyday, yet the mechanical aspects were freshened in a no-expense-spared fashion. The Mclaren-Buick power plant was completely overhauled, and has logged just the Monterey Historic Reunion 2012 event, and break in time. Other minor improvements were made during the restoration, including an update of the dash and instrument system, which now employs a digital layout similar to what would be found in a modern ALMS or Grand-Am prototype. A very modern OMP fire suppression system was installed for increased safety. While these useful improvements are an obvious help to the driver, from the outside, even in the paddock, the exterior presentation is entirely that of a period piece.

Following the Monterey Historic Reunion, a comprehensive inspection and service was performed by Robin Automotive to ready the car for sale. The body, front and rear suspension, cockpit, brakes, engine, wheels, and gearbox were all gone through. The car was determined to be in very good overall condition, yet any-and-all issues noted were corrected. Minor works totaled $6,500.

At this time the car is event ready, and perspective buyers are welcome to contact Robin Automotive to confirm the resent service and mechanical status of the car. It can be described as having very racing cosmetics, and the overall shape and livery s/n 85G-1 is attractive, and the car is well received in the paddock. The exposed aluminium is nicely polished, and the car sits on nicely refinished cast mat back wheels.

Included with the sale are a second full set of track wheels with Good Year sticker tires purchased in 2012, records for recent work performed, and historical date on Conte Racing and their efforts with the March GTP cars.

Today, with the advent of historic race events for which these cars are eligible, they are no longer merely old racecars, but have instead become imminently usable, recapturing much of the excitement and glory of when prototype racecars such as this March competed in the most important endurance racing championship of the era. Certainly in this value range, few GTP cars can boast the mechanical status, history, or usability that this March can. GTP cars are now becoming highly sought after by individuals who watched them dominate the world of Endurance Sports Car Racing in their heyday, and are now financially able to relive those memories- this time from the driver's seat.

 


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Fantasy Junction +1 510 653 7555 Emeryville, California 94608 USA

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