At the end of the 1983 season, March revealed its new weapon for the 1984 season in the name of 84G. Entered by Leon Bros Racing, the car was powered by a Chevrolet engine. The car, driven by Al and Art Leon, the car did not show great promises, due to the poor driving abilities of its owners. Yet, it was only the beginning for the new Bicester spearhead. The March 84G could be powered by different powerplants, ranging from the classical V8 Chevrolet to the V6 Buick turbo or even the flat 6 Porsche. With a honeycomb chassis, the overall design appeared much more sleek. The windshield was bigger and differed mostly from its predecessors. To the rear, the car did not display any brakes scoop. The March 84G/01, entered by the Leon Bros, did not capture any significant result in 1984, except at Riverside, but they were helped by Hurley Haywood, and they took a fifth overall.
Copyright Mark Windecker
The car underwent some aesthetical improvements, with the rear wing fins which were not attached to the bodywork. The car was entered in 1985, too but the team had purchased a 85G, which was powered by a Porsche engine. This car, 85G/05, did not claim any significant result too. The 84G/02 chassis was purchased at the end of 1983 by Pegasus Racing. Powered by a V6 3,4L Buick powerplant, fed by a Warner Ishi single turbo and prepared by McLaren engines, the car debuted at the Daytona Finale 1983. Driven by Ken Madren and Mark Speer, the car ended up in sixth place, which was an encouraging result. It was not to last, unfortunately, as 1984 proved to be a very unlucky season. The car would never see the checkered, whatever the race. After a very poor season, the car was then sold to Conte Racing, who entered the car at Sebring for the enduro. The 1985 season would not be a better year with a regular string of dnfs. After one race in 1986, the car disappeared for two years, only to be run at Lime Rock in 1988. Entered by Briody Racing, the result was unfortunately the same as per usual, then it was not to be seen anymore. Chassis 84G/03 was purchased by DJ Racing, who was used to running Marches. As for their former car, it was powered by a flat 6 Porsche prepared by Andial. Wearing the Kreepy Krauly colors, the car experienced an early fire, which postponed the car's debuts to Portland. For this race, Sarel van der Merwe took the pole and had a very short race. The car once again caught fire! After being restored, the car did not prove fast enough to capture any win. In 1985, it could be seen at the 24 Hours of Daytona, but the race was some kind of littering for this car which was now Yokohama shod, and backed. Miami was then the last race for this car. The Apartheid issue was too much for this team, as well as the financial situation, which was not improving. They had to withdraw from the series, and then the car was rented to John Hotschkis. Then it was entered for the Le Mans 24 Hour race. Some last minute modifications had to get done, in order to comply with the ACO regulations, but the race was one to forget, with a twenty second place overall. But the car remains as the only March to see the chequered in the famed French classic.
John Kalagian had run a Lola T600 in 1983, but in 1984, he purchased a March 84G. In fact, he would not enter this car before the Portland race in July. This first race saw John Kalagian, co-driven by John Lloyd end up in seventh position. In fact, it would be their sole positive accomplishment in the season. In 1985, while running the three Floridian enduros, then the car was rented by David Cowart. Then the car never reappear in any 1985 race, and it seems that it had been purchased by Joe Hill, who entered the car at Columbus at the end of the season. Then not any news about this car could be collected. One thing is sure, she did not shine at all.
The chassis 84G/05 was the most successful ever in IMSA history for the March fleet. It was entered by Blue Thunder Racing, and driven by Randy Lanier and Bill Whittington for the most part of the season. It was debuted at Riverside on April 29 1984. This very first race saw the car fighting all the race with the equally debuting Porsche 962 entered by Bayside Disposal Racing. The March won by a scant 4s9 margin over the Porsche. Then a string of successes and high finishes was recorded by Randy Lanier at Laguna Seca and Charlotte, a second place finish at Lime Rock and another win at Mid Ohio with Bill Whittington. With two retirements at Watkins Glen and Sears Point, things seemed to straighten up for the opposition. However, at Road America, the Randy Lanier and Bill Whittington duo took a third place overall. With the new Porsche 962 opposition, it looked like they would be defeated at the end, but they wanted it and never surrendered.
Copyright Mark Windecker
Two new victories were collected at Michigan and Portland, which ensured Randy Lanier his first IMSA drivers crown. The car underwent some very slight changes during the course of the 1984 season, as the oil filling cap and the rear view mirror moving backwards. The car was powered by a V8 5,8L Chevrolet prepared by Ryan Falconer. It seemed obvious that the team was thoroughly well funded, and it allowed them to service the car as it was required. The drivers could rely on a perfectly maintained car. At the Daytona Finale, Bill Whittington ran this car which curiously displayed the number 1, while Randy Lanier, who was freshly crowned, drove the number 57 car. Randy Lanier owed very much to Bill Whittington's ability to set up cars, and the latter offered him the title on a silver plate.
The car was to be seen again in 1985, at Miami and Sebring, but with no interesting result at stake. The glorious 84G/05 chassis career was over, but it remains as the most successful March GTP chassis ever. The very last 84G chassis to tackle the IMSA Championship was the 84G/06, which was sold to Phil Conte. Used to entering a Lola, Conte Racing entered this March at Charlotte in 1984. Mostly driven by John Morton, along with many different co-drivers, the car ran well, falling short of the podium twice at Charlotte and Mid Ohio. After retiring at Pocono, the car was to be later replaced by a 85G model. In fact, Phil Conte had been approached by Buick's Joe Negri, and these talks led to Conte Racing becoming the official Buick representative. The deal was that they would have horsepower. And they did!
At the 1985 Daytona 24 Hours, the 84G/06 car was rented by DeAtley Motorsport, and repainted red, wearing the Budweiser colors. Tommy Byrne, Michael Roe and Darin Brassfield drove this car to a dnf. At Miami, Ralph Sanchez rent it for his local entry and had once again Emerson Fittipaldi drive it. After a run in with the officials, the car was given a stop and go and probably lost a well deserved victory. Emerson Fittipaldi and Tony Garcia finished third. This car was to be entered again at Miami the next year. Partnered by Bobby Rahal, Emerson Fittipaldi, while as fast as ever, retired early in the race with a broken gearbox. Ralph Sanchez had purchased a 85G, chassis 02, which he entered at the Daytona Finale in 1984. Powered by a Buick turbo engine, the car, which was driven by Emerson Fittipaldi, blew a turbo in the race after starting from the tenth spot. This car was to be entered by Ralph Sanchez, along with the 84G, who nearly missed the win. Jan Lammers and Roberto Guerrero drove it, but the engine was not suited to the track, and they finished ninth.
Copyright Dave Kutz
Conte Racing had entered their newly acquired 85G/01, which was Buick powered, for John Paul Jr and John Morton at the Daytona Finale 1984 too. Starting ninth, the car retired after twenty nine laps with a blown turbo. These two cars were the 1985 weapons for the Bicester make. Phil Conte also had 85G/03, which was used as a backup car. Sleeker and lighter than the 83G and 84G chassis, the new design was to allow a greater speed, in order to face the new Porsche challenge. Unfortunately, the car entered by Conte Racing suffered from many chassis failures. The 85G chassis was ill-handling. It was very difficult to drive, though it was fast. Everything was on the rear tyres. The engine went right, but many parts on the chassis would break. They had to reinforce everything. What's more, the support they expected to have from March was not to come as expected. Things worsened as time passed. Phil Conte had to spend a lot of money on the cars, and money ran short. Their only honest result was to happen at Pocono, with a fifth place finish earned by Bill Adam and Whitney Ganz. The remainder of the season was strewn with dnfs and breakdowns. In 1986, two cars were entered. The team nearly won at Road Atlanta, with 85G/03, in an outstanding battle with the Chevrolet Corvette GTP driven by Sarel van der Merwe. This race remains for ever in Phil Conte's memory. John Paul Jr would no more drive for the team, as he had been indicted and taken into custody. So Whitney Ganz, Bob Lobenberg, Ken Madren and Jim Crawford
did the job of driving the ever evolving cars. Now renamed as Hawk, as
the two cars were extensively modified, reliability was always searched
for. In 1987, the cars were thoroughly modified by Tony Cicale, who had a new nose installed at the front of the car, with side-mounted radiators. After experiencing some retirements, the team was rewarded by a fourth place finish at Lime Rock, with the 86G/11. Whitney Ganz and Bob Lobenberg drove the Hawk Buick to its last race. Phil Conte had dropped from racing, probably burned out from so much money spent.
Leon Bros had purchased one 85G chassis(85G/05), which was wrecked at Road Atlanta in 1985, and Neil deAtley another one(85G/04). John Kalagian had also acquired a new March 85G, chassis 85G/06.
Copyright Terry Capps
A string of consistent results rewarded the team, but it was obvious that they did not have the means to win races. He ran with many different co-drivers, including John Mills, Tommy Grunnah, Steve Shelton and John Lloyd. At Sears Point, he was partnered by a friend, Jim Cook, who tried to qualify the car. Sadly, he suffered from a heart attack and died during practice. John Kalagian finished 19th in points. The 1986 season was full of hope for John Kalagian, who was supposed to drive for Holbert Racing, as backup driver. He had sold his March and as the deal did not come to a conclusion, he found himself without a car. Then he was able to purchase Ralph Sanchez chassis 85G/02. Jim Bailie, freshly hired from Conte Racing, was content to work for a smaller team, and he found himself at home with the car. In fact, this car would actually be raced once. Jim Mullen was enlisted as co-driver, and heard a noise in the car. John Kalagian got under the wheel, and had an horrendous crash, leaving him paralysed. It was the end of his racing career as a driver, but he returned to racing as a team owner in 1988.
Chassis 85G/07 had a different story, as it was purchased by BMW, who used it as test bed, in order to re-enter the GTP class in 1986. The last chassis to be seen in IMSA was the one labeled 85G/11, also owned by Phil Conte. The other cars had been shipped to Japan.
The next generation of March prototypes was designed by Gordon Coppuck. They were no longer customer cars, as they were intended for factories, who ordered them. BMW had ordered seven 86Gs, Nissan four ones and Conte Racing would have one, which was Buick powered. This car would be sold to Gianpiero Moretti, who raced it until the end of 1988. The remainder of the cars had been sold to Nissan, who used them to develop future cars. However, private March entries could be seen until the end of the eighties, but they no longer played a major part in IMSA races. They had their share of glory, but these days were over.