1988 MARCH BUICK TURBO 86G Ex MORETTI - IMSA GTP - C1
Bought in 1986 by BMW USA in a BMW GTP version
Ex Giampiero Moretti the famous owner of MOMO
Eligible for Group C Racing Series, Gulf Historic, Daytona Classic & Le Mans Classic - C1 Class
Restored in 2021
GROUP C RACING by PETER AUTO
LE MANS CLASSIC
MASTERS ENDURANCE LEGENDS USA
DAYTONA CLASSIC 24 HOUR by HSR
ROLEX MONTEREY MOTORSPOSTS REUNION
SEBRING CLASSIC 12 HOUR by HSR
UNIBODY ALUMINIUM HONEYCOMB
BUICK 6 CYLINDERS 3 LITERS MONO-TURBO
750 HP @ 7 200 RPM
HEWLAND 5 SPEEDS
The MARCH 86 G model: designed for both NISSAN and BMW
The March 86G was en entirely new Group C design by Gordon Coppuck, and was the first car to be designed by March using CAD/CAM (Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacture). It should be pointed out that the 86G was commissioned by Nissan, being entered and raced as the Nissan R86V, and by BMW North America.
The March 86G had more honeycomb panels than the 82G-85G series, inboard rocker-arm rear suspension and was narrower across the beam to allow the installation of side-mounted radiators. The story of the March-Nissans involved the development of the number of 86, 87 and 88G’s, which were used by the works Nismo and the quasi-works “Team Le Mans” operation in the Japanese championship and for the annual trip at Le Mans.
The suspensions were similar to those on the indycars, with magnesium uprights, and Coppuck reckoned that the 1986 model was more than 100 kg lighter than the 85G.
March aerodynamicist Tino Belli was responsible for the 86G’s shape, developed in wind tunnel, of course, and the bodywork was made entirely of carbon fibres and kevlar.
BMW North America
BMW of North America planned a major assault on the 1986 IMSA GTP Championship, basing its programme on a 2-litre version of the four-cylinder, iron block engine used in Formula 1. With a single Garrett AiResearch turbo-charger the Type M12/4 engine developed up to 800 bhp with reasonable reliability, and David Hobbs, the first to drive the car competitively.
In what became a very good business for March, Bicester firm supplied six 86G chassis: (86G 01, 86G 02, 86G 03 and 86G 04) to BMW of North America between October 1985 and January 1986, and two more in May (86G 09) and June (86G 10 the car offered for sale) to replace originals. Two early 86G’s were burned out in tracksides fires, and another was written off when the rear bodywork became detached and caused Bobby Rahal to crash heavily during trials at Daytona.
« BMW barbecues » became a well–established part of the IMSA scene in the first half of 1986, although Hobbs and Watson collected an eight-place finish at Miami in March. At Watkins Glenn, John Andretti earned his first pole position, and he and Jones led all the way to the chequered flag for BMW’s first, on only, IMSA victory.
The decision had already been taken to withdraw the team at the end of the year, although the two cars also ran at Columbus and Daytona to finish the season. It was a pity, because after a string of failures the cars were well sorted out, and the Glen success might have been the first of many. In the final analysis, BMW finished sixth in the 1986 IMSA GTP Championship.
In 1987 two teams entered March 86G's in the IMSA GTP Championship: Phil Conte team and Momo Course
The Momo team started racing with a March 86G in 1987. The team entered only one car this year, 86G 04 and afterwards the Phil Conte’s Buick March 86G11 after 86G 04 had been crashed at Road America 500 Miles the 16th August 1987.
History of the MARCH 86G 10
Giampiero Moretti’s Momo team bought two of the chassis from BMW North America (86G 09 and 86G 10) for the 1988 season and installed Buick V6 engines, one a normally aspirated 4,5 litre for Jeff Andretti (86G 09 no 31) one with a 900-plus horsepower 3-litre turbo V6 version for Moretti himself, 86G10, the car Ascott Collection is proud to offer for sale. Former Grid team organizer Ian Dawson (formerly with Zakspeed) managed the programme.
As Moretti had previously entered similar cars in 1987, he was familiar with both chassis and engine. March supplied an engine adapter plate, and the Moretti crew modified the engine and radiator plumbing and electrical wiring.
It was entered in 1988 by Giampiero Moretti in the IMSA Championship including the 24 Hours of Daytona. Wearing the famous MOMO livery, this MARCH 86G suffered reliability problems due to poor electronics.
Acquired in 1993 by Bob Akin, the March 86G changed hands several times in the USA (the owners are known) before being imported into Europe in 2008.
Restored in 2021 and back on track
In 2020 the MARCH 86G-06 was sold by Ascott Collection to a French collector and competitor with a view to entering it in Group C and the Le Mans Classic. A restoration was necessary as the car had not been driven for several years. The work was carried out in 2021 and included overhaul of the engine, turbo, gearbox, running gear, electronics and of course the crack-test was done and the fuel tank was replaced. All this work is documented by the invoices in the car's file. After several test sessions the March was fine-tuned and validated. With the modern electronics that all cars of this period benefit from, this MARCH has become more reliable than at the time. It is eligible for many races (C1 class) in Group C in the Peter Auto series, Le Mans Classic, races in the USA and in the new Gulf Historic series in Dubai.