March 722 (Formula 2) car-by-car histories
The 1972 Formula 2 March 722 looked very different to March's previous F2 car, with a low, flat 'chisel' nose and side radiators. Ronnie Peterson, Niki Lauda and Jochen Mass all won F2 races in works March 722s.
After a slow start to the 1971 season, the Formula 2 March 712M had started to emerge as the dominant car, with March Engineering's lead driver Ronnie Peterson winning three championship rounds in succession between June and September on his way to winning the title. That the 712M was a late developer proved to be a problem as March had already started the design of its replacement, and the new 722 looked quite different when the prototype 722 was first seen testing at Silverstone in August 1971. Although the monocoque was an evolution of the 712M tub, it was lower at the front to allow the 722 to have a much lower nose, inspired perhaps by the successful Lotus 72. The radiators were moved from the nose to the side of the car, in cowlings similar to those then being used on the 1971 F1 March 711. Another significant change from the 712M was the use of a much wider front track, and although all these changes may have been in the right direction, they did not work together. The company's problems were exacerbated by the introduction of the new 2000cc formula, which saw the stretched Ford BDA engines provided by Race Engine Services suffer reliability issues. Brian Hart took the safe option of not asking more than 1850cc from the BDAs that he supplied to the Surtees team, and the Surtees TS10 took the 1972 title.
Ronnie Peterson and Niki Lauda, March's F1 drivers, also drove for the STP-backed works F2 team, managed in 1972 by Ray Wardell. The season started well with Lauda winning at Oulton Park, and Peterson at Thruxton, but the travails of the F1 team and the woeful failure of the F1 721X design then took much of March's attention from the F2 effort. Other 722 drivers to show well included the ELF Coombs Racing pairing of Patrick Depailler and Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Mike Beuttler in his Clarke-Mordaunt Team car, and Gerry Birrell in the Sports Motors (Manchester) car.
There is a certain irony that March ended up attaching F1 Cosworth engines to F2 722 monocoques to revitalise their failing F1 team, just as the F2 team was going backwards. In September, the 722 received some overdue development when the team fitted both works cars with blunt wide noses incorporating the main radiators, moving them from the cars' flanks. The idea came via the F2 title-winning Surtees TS10 and the Pau GP winning Chevron B20, but both were inspired by Jackie Stewart's Tyrrell 003 the previous season. It would not have escaped March's attention that Ron Dennis's Rondel team also made a similar enhancement to their Brabham BT38s, which had started 1972 looking very similar to the 722s. After an accident in practice at Oulton Park in September, Peterson's car was changed back to standard specification for the race - which the Swede won - but the new layout was tried again at Hockenheim and led Herd to design the March 732 with a nose based heavily on the Porsche 908/3, the original inspiration for the Tyrrell's nose.
The prototype March 722 was sold to Sports Motors Manchester for Gerry Birrell to race in Formula 2 in 1972. At the end of the season, the car was sold to New Zealander Kenny Smith, and fitted with a 1930cc Cosworth FVC engine for the 1973 Tasman series. He also used it at the April 1973 Singapore Grand Prix using a 1600cc Hart Ford twin-cam. Frank Radisich bought it and bolted on the Repco Holden engine and rear end from his McLaren M10B, but this was wholely unsuccessful, and Radisich later tried a Mazda engine instead, also updating it to 1976 nose and sidepods, but again with no success. In late 1977, it reappeared with Dave Saunders who had fitted a Cosworth BDA engine for Formula Pacific, but the reliability problems persisted. According to Graham Vercoe, Dennis Dunbar later raced it, again with the Mazda engine. In the late 1980s, it was bought less engine from Dunbar by Murray Biddick, who restored the car, fitted a BDA engine and did a couple of club events. It was then sold on his behalf by Charlie Conway to Adrian Whapman. David McKinney reported that Whapman was advertising it in 1994. David also noted that it later went to Australia, where it was owned in 2003 by Kevin Miller, and then returned to NZ and was owned by David Heron. By 2008, Heron had restored it in STP livery, and it was being associated with Niki Lauda. Raced by Heron in New Zealand in 2008 and 2009. Later references to Heron racing the car in 2011 and 2015.
Driven by: Gerry Birrell, Ken Smith, Frank Radisich and Dave Saunders. First race: Oulton Park, 31 Mar 1972. Total of 20 recorded races.
New to the ELF Coombs Racing team for 1972, and raced in F2 by Jean-Pierre Jabouille and François Cevert. Sold to Roy Courtney (Lisburn, County Antrim, Northern Ireland) for 1973 and fitted with a 1600cc Cosworth BDA, but only seen rarely in Irish racing. To Tony Martin (Dun Laoire, County Dublin, Ireland) for 1974, and raced in Irish Formula Atlantic until crashed heavily at Mondello Park in August. According to Eddie Fitzgerald, the car went to Austin Kinsella (Blessington, County Wicklow) for another couple of seasons of Atlantic, and was then sold to Cyril Lynch (Terenure, Dublin) who used it mainly in hillclimbs from 1978 to 1979. While Lynch owned it, it was also raced by Vivien Candy at Mondello Park in 1979. It left Ireland when sold via AW 'Monkey' Brown to Mike Gue, then to Lew Wright, and then to Peter Denty (Thetford, Norfolk) by 1984. Denty sold it via Ted Walker to Mike Jones, who ran it in Sprints in the north of England in the early 1990s. Jones died in 2004, and the car was sold by his Estate to Todd Willing (Melbourne, Australia) in 2006. Still with Willing in July 2021, when it was approaching the end of a restoration by Mike Borland in Melbourne.
Driven by: Jean-Pierre Jabouille, François Cevert, Roy Courtney, Tony Martin, Austin Kinsella, Derek Shortall, Cyril Lynch and Vivien Candy. First race: Mallory Park (R1), 12 Mar 1972. Total of 23 recorded races.
New for STP-March number two driver Niki Lauda for F2 in 1972 (won at Oulton Park in March), then for Pedro de Lamare in Torneio do Brasil. To Robert Cooper (High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire) for Formula Atlantic 1973, and rebuilt mid-season to 73B spec. Retained for early 1974, then sold to Dairmuid McFeeley (Clonee, Dunboyne, County Meath, Ireland) for Irish Formula Atlantic in 1974, 1975 and early 1976. To John Ledlie in 1976, then sold to Richard Lester (Yoxall, Staffordshire) for sprints from 1978 to 1984. With Keith Wanklyn (Wimborne) for hillclimbs from 1985 to 1990. Via three other owners to John Gale (Sydney, NSW, Australia) 2006. Sold to Australian-resident Englishman Steve Weller (Sydney, NSW) in 2017, who moved the car to the UK.
Driven by: Niki Lauda, Pedro de Lamare, Robert Cooper, Dairmuid McFeeley, Rosemary Smith, John Ledlie, Richard Lester and Keith Wanklyn. First race: Mallory Park (R1), 12 Mar 1972. Total of 70 recorded races.
New to Hiroshi Kazato, and run for him in European F2 by Peter Bloore Racing. The car disappeared at the end of 1972, but March records show that it was sold to a "J. F. Gridley" of Tooting, south London. It is then said to have been owned by an Englishman who planned to use it in French hillclimbs, but only to seize the engine and abandon it. It was acquired by Ted Walker some time around 1987, still with Kazato's name on the wheels, and sold to Nigel Smith, who sold it on to Gerry Wainwright (Burton, Staffordshire), who sent it to Simon Hadfield for restoration. Hadfield raced it briefly in historic racing, before it was sold to Jim Bennett in Colorado, but he only raced it once. It was sold to Scott Meehan (Kamas, UT) in 2005, and restored with a Cosworth BDE engine. Sold to Andrew Gifford (Perth, Australia) in 2012. Sold to Steve Weller mid-to-late-2018. Advertised by Weller (Poole, Dorset) in January 2023.
Driven by: Hiroshi Kazato. First race: Mallory Park (R1), 12 Mar 1972. Total of 12 recorded races.
New to David Purley and entered by Lec Refrigeration Racing for him in F2 in 1972. Retained for 1973, but converted to Formula Atlantic, fitted with Falconer bodywork and run in the two British championships, winning the opening race of each championship. At Silverstone in May, Autosport reported that the car was appearing for the first time in 73B bodywork and using narrow track. Photographs of the car at the following race, which Purley won, show that it also had front-facing rollhoop supports, which are usually indicative of the 1973 March monocoque, and a more detailed picture of the car at Silverstone in July shows that the front suspension also indicated it now had a 1973 monocoque. He used the car to the end of the season, winning five races in total. It was then raced by Dieter Quester at Macau at the end of 1973, who was said to have bought the "73B". However, Quester's recollection was that it was rented by Team Harper for him to drive. Subsequent history unknown, but possibly sold in the Far East. The car would probably have been indistinguishable from a 73B by this time.
Driven by: David Purley and Dieter Quester. First race: Mallory Park (R1), 12 Mar 1972. Total of 41 recorded races.
New to Brett Lunger, and entered by Space Racing for him in F2 in 1972. Bob Sparshott's partner John 'Ace' Woodington was in charge of the F1 team, with ex-Surtees mechanic Roger Flynn. Lunger also raced the car in the Torneio do Brasil in October and November 1972. March records show that this car was sold to Guy Tunmer in December 1972, although press reports at the time said Tunmer had bought the ex-Ronnie Peterson car. Tunmer (Sandton, South Africa) had acquired the 722 for the new "F2" class of the South African national championship, and had it fitted with an 1800cc Cosworth FVC and raced it through 1973. The car was not seen in 1974, but is believed to have been kept as a spare to Tunmer's new Chevron. In 1975, it was sold to André Verwey (Johannesburg, South Africa) who planned to rebuild it with a BMW F2 engine and Hewland FG400 gearbox, but when Formula Atlantic was announced, he updated it with 74B bodywork and Nicholson BDA engine. Used in this form by Verwey in two races late 1975, and then into 1976. Sold back to the Tunmers in mid-1976 for Mervyn Tunmer to use. Unused in 1977, but then sold to Andrew Thompson in 1978, converted to a Ford V6 engine for the new formula, and raced in that form by Bobby Scott in 1979. To Mel Lahner and raced by Derek Ziman and others in his Rackrite team in 1981. Retained until 2004, when sold back to Andrew and Stuart Thompson. Still with Stuart Thompson in February 2023.
Driven by: Brett Lunger, Guy Tunmer, André Verwey, Mervyn Tunmer, Bobby Scott, Derek Ziman, John McNicol and Mel Lahner. First race: Mallory Park (R1), 12 Mar 1972. Total of 43 recorded races.
New to Ecurie Shell-Arnold for F2 in 1972, and raced by Jean-Pierre Jarier, Jean-Pierre Beltoise, and José Dolhem. Sold to Yves Courage for 1973, and raced by him in French hillclimbs with a 1798cc Cosworth BDE. To Roland Davril for 1974, but his season was ended early when his engine injected a stone. To Robert Lucet for 1975, now equipped with a 1930cc BDE, and retained by him for 1976, and for 1977, when it was described as a March 742/752. Retained again for 1978, but now in the 1600cc class with a Cosworth engine. It was sold to Marcel Perriot for 1979, then to Patrick Tibonnet 1982, then Bernard Pourchet 1984, then Charles Gnaedinger 1998. Gnaedinger sold it via Grand Prix Classics to Denis Maynard, and it then passed via Grand Prix Classics again to Bill Morris in 2001. Then unknown until sold by George Grigoriev (San Diego, CA) to Ray Stubber in September 2011. Sold by Stubber to Angelo Orloff (Western Australia) in November 2015.
Driven by: Jean-Pierre Jarier, Jean-Pierre Beltoise, José Dolhem, Yves Courage, Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Roland Davril and Robert Lucet. First race: Thruxton (R2), 3 Apr 1972. Total of 79 recorded races.
New for Adrian Wilkins to race in F2 in 1972 as a John Coombs Racing entry. Subsequent history unknown, but see the Holman Blackburn car.
Driven by: Adrian Wilkins. First race: Hockenheim (R3), 16 Apr 1972. Total of 9 recorded races.
New to Xavier Perrot (Zürich, Switzerland), and raced in European hillclimbs, F2 events, and both Swiss and German national events in 1972. He won major events in this car at Ampus, Dobratsch, Mont Ventoux, Freiburg-Schauinsland and St Ursanne-Les Rangiers. The car reappeared at the Jim Clark Memorial Trophäe at Hockenheim in April 1973 where it was driven by entered by Formel Rennsport Club Schweiz for Paul Keller (Trasadingen, Schaffhausen, Switzerland) to drive, but was reported to be owned by Freddy Link. Keller crashed it at the Nürburgring three weeks later, but it was back out for Jean-Claude Favre to drive at Payerne in May and in other events later in the season. Subsequent history unknown, but an "ex-Perrot" with "722-16" chassis plate was advertised in 2003. It should be noted that Bob Lazier's Formula B March 722 had the number "722-16" noted in its original SCCA logbook, so the association of Lazier's car with this chassis number is entirely genuine - even if the reason for the duplicated number is not yet understood.
Driven by: Xavier Perrot, Paul Keller and Jean-Claude Favre. First race: Mallory Park (R1), 12 Mar 1972. Total of 29 recorded races.
New for the works STP March Engineering team, and driven by Ronnie Peterson (who won at Thruxton in April and at Oulton Park in September) and Jochen Mass (who won at the Nürburgring). Sold to Silvio Montenegro (Brazil) and raced by him in the Torneio do Brasil. Crashed into the Armco barrier early in the second heat of the final race. This car was thought to have gone to South Africa for 1973, but this is now believed to have been incorrect. The car's history after Montenegro's accident is unknown.
Driven by: Ronnie Peterson, Jochen Mass and Silvio Montenegro. First race: Mallory Park (R1), 12 Mar 1972. Total of 15 recorded races.
In the Torneio do Brasil at the end of 1972, a previously unraced March 722 was entered by Ecurie Shell-Arnold for Clay Regazzoni at two races and for Francisco Lameirao at another. At the third race, team manager Sandro Angeleri said that "everything possible [was] wrong with the car". Nothing more known.
Driven by: Clay Regazzoni and Francisco Lameirao. First race: Interlagos, 29 Oct 1972. Total of 3 recorded races.
New to Tom Wheatcroft Racing for Roger Williamson to race in F2 in 1972, but Williamson's main aim was the F3 title, so the 722 was little used. To Patsy McGarrity (Belfast, Northern Ireland) for 1973, and used in Formula Ireland races. To David Lambe (Dublin, Ireland) in August 1973, and converted to Formula Atlantic specification for 1974, when it was also raced once or twice by Tom O'Leary. In 1986, this car turned up in England in the hands of David Tilley, who told speed event historian Steve Wilkinson that it had come from Patsy McGarrity in Ulster and was "the ex-Wheatcroft car for Roger Williamson". Tilley replaced the 1600cc engine with a 3500cc Rover V8 for 1988, then sold the car to Barrie Gilles (Lydney, Gloucestershire), who raced it in 1989. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Roger Williamson, Patsy McGarrity, David Lambe, Tom O'Leary, David Tilley, Doug Bruce and Barrie Giles. First race: Oulton Park, 31 Mar 1972. Total of 26 recorded races.
New to ELF Coombs Racing, and raced by Patrick Depailler in F2 in 1972, although he also drove the team's Alpine A367 at some races. Not seen in 1973, but sold by the March factory in May 1974 to Derek Robinson, of Motor Racing Supplies in Frome, Somerset. It had been updated to the latest works 742 bodywork. Robinson entered the car in Formula Atlantic for Alan Rollinson, but Rollinson was still troubled by an ankle injury and decided to retire in July. Donald MacLeod was entered in the car at a race in September, but did not arrive. It was advertised from a Radstock phone number at the start of September, described as a "works Formula Atlantic [March] 74B" that had been "built and prepared at Bicester for Alan Rollinson", and had a Holbay engine. It was in side-radiator form with a works 742 nose. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Patrick Depailler and Alan Rollinson. First race: Pau (R4), 7 May 1972. Total of 11 recorded races.
The Formula 2 March 722s in 1972
March summary records state that 20 Formula 2 March 722s were built, as well as another 20 Formula B March 722s and four Formula Atlantic 722s. The 13 F2 cars where chassis numbers are known are: the Sports Motors 722/1 for Gerry Birrell; the ELF Coombs Racing 722/4 for Jean-Pierre Jabouille and François Cevert; the works 722/5 for Niki Lauda; the Peter Bloore Racing 722/8 for Hiroshi Kazato; David Purley's 722/10; Brett Lunger's 722/11; the Ecurie Shell-Arnold 722/14 for Jean-Pierre Jarier, Jean-Pierre Beltoise, and José Dolhem; Adrian Wilkins' 722/15; Xavier Perrot's 722/16; the works 722/17 for Ronnie Peterson; Ecurie Shell-Arnold's 722/28 spare car; the Tom Wheatcroft Racing 722/41 for Roger Williamson; and the ELF Coombs Racing 722/45 for Patrick Depailler. To those can be added six F2 cars whose chassis numbers are not known: Eifelland's two cars for Hannelore Werner and Werner Schommers; Mike Beuttler's car said to be 722/18; John Smith's 722 for Irish libre racing which was also said to be 722/18; the car entered by Heroes Racing Corporation for Hiromu Tanaka in Japanese F2; and Jimmy Mieusset's car for French hillclimbs. That comes to a total of 19 Formula 2 722s, compared with March's total of 20, suggesting we still have one to locate.
New to Mike Beuttler, and entered by Clarke-Mordaunt Team for him to race in F2 in 1972. Consistently reported at the time to be chassis 722-18, but the same chassis number was also reported for John Smith's car in Ireland. The ex-Beuttler car was used as a test chassis for the new BMW F2 engine during October, when both Jean-Pierre Jarier and Hans Stuck used it. Not seen in 1973, but reappeared in 1974 as the "HRS 732" run by Jock Topin and entered by Anglo Swiss Racing Team for Gill Orchard to race in Formula Atlantic. The car was reported to be a 713M before Topin told Autosport in April 1974 that it was based on the ex-Beuttler March 722, "extensively modified by his Ecurie Santos operation" and produced "with blessing from March". Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Mike Beuttler and Gillian Orchard. First race: Thruxton (R2), 3 Apr 1972. Total of 17 recorded races.
Robert "Jimmy" Mieusset (Lyon, Rhône-Alpes, France) drove a March 722 with huge success in French hillclimbs in 1972 and 1973, winning at least 28 events. Despite buying a newer March 742, it appears that he retained the 722, and it is possible he used it in minor events in 1974 and 1975. In 1976, the car was reported to be with Christian Thomas for French hillclimbs, but his only known appearance was at Bourbach le Haut in May 1976. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Robert "Jimmy" Mieusset and Christian Thomas. First race: Ampus (R1), 19 Mar 1972. Total of 42 recorded races.
John Smith (Ballymena, County Antrim, Northern Ireland) bought a new March 722 for Formula Ireland racing in 1972, using a 1840cc Broadspeed Ford BDA engine. The engine proved expremely troublesome, and Smith rarely started a race. The car was reported to be chassis 722-18, but this is the same number reported for Mike Beuttler's car in F2. The car was next seen in 1974, when Smith had converted it to Formula Atlantic specification with an Alan Smith BDA. He raced it in the Irish Formula Atlantic series from 1974 to 1977. Sold to Joe Greenan (Belfast, Northern Ireland), who appeared in Irish Formula Atlantic in 1978 with a car described by Autosport as "an elderly but nicely turned out March of circa '72 vintage". The car was also driven by Arnie Black in a race at Kirkistown that year. It was then sold to Jimmy O’Boyle, who used it for many years and enjoyed great success in the Northern Ireland hillclimb and sprint championships. John Smith was keen to get the car back, and when O'Boyle retired, he sold it back to Smith. The car was rebuilt, and in 2007 it was used in the HSCC Derek Bell Trophy by John's son Darwin Smith. Used in HSCC and European F2 racing from 2007 to 2019.
Driven by: John Smith, Joe Greenan and Arnie Black. First race: Bishopscourt (R5), 6 May 1972. Total of 24 recorded races.
Heroes Racing Corporation run a brand new red March 722 for Hiromu Tanaka in Japanese F2 in 1972 (with a Mitsubishi Colt R39B engine) and then for Motoharu Kurosawa (with a BMW engine) in 1973. The car returned to the team in 1975 and 1976 for Naoki Nagasaka.
Driven by: Hiromu Tanaka, Motoharu Kurosawa, Masaharu Nakano and Naoki Nagasaka. First race: Fuji, 3 May 1972. Total of 9 recorded races.
Eifelland Caravans bought two new March 722s for F2 in 1972, and renamed them Eifelland Type 22s, with new chassis numbers 22-1 and 22-2. However, the cars were only seen at the Hockenheim F2 race in June, where Hannelore Werner drove this car, as Eifelland were taken over by window manufacturers Meeth AG. The F1 car was handed over to driver Rolf Stommelen, and the F3 cars also seem to have gone to their drivers, but it is unclear what happened to the F2 cars.
Driven by: Hannelore Werner. First race: Hockenheim (R6), 11 Jun 1972. Only one recorded race.
The second Eifelland March 722 was driven by Werner Schommers at Hockenheim in June 1972. Schommers failed to qualify and this was the only time the car was ever seen. Eifelland was then taken over by Meeth Fenterbau, and the F2 team was disbanded. Nothing more known.
Driven by: Werner Schommers. First appearance: Hockenheim (R6), 11 Jun 1972.
Unidentified F2 March 722s in 1973
Of the thirteen Formula 2 March 722s with known chassis numbers: Gerry Birrell's 722/1 went to Ken Smith in New Zealand for 1973; the Coombs Racing 722/4 went to Roy Courtney in Northern Ireland; Niki Lauda's works 722/5 went to Robert Cooper for Formula Atlantic; Hiroshi Kazato's 722/8 was sold to the mysterious "J.F. Gridley"; David Purley retained his 722/10 for Formula Atlantic; Brett Lunger's 722/11 went to Guy Tunmer in South Africa; Ecurie Shell-Arnold's 722/14 was with Yves Courage in France; Xavier Perrot's 722/16 went to Paul Keller; Ronnie Peterson's works 722/17 went to Silvio Montenegro in Brazil according to surviving March records; the Tom Wheatcroft Racing 722/40 raced by Roger Williamson went to Patsy McGarrity in Northern Ireland; and the Coombs Racing 722/45 was unused in 1973 before going to Derek Robinson in 1974.
That only leaves Adrian Wilkins' 722/15 which goes missing after 1972; and Ecurie Shell-Arnold's 722/28 about which almost nothing is known. There is no report of Peterson's 722/17 appearing in 1973, 1974 and 1975. Could it still be sitting in a small regional museum somewhere in Brazil?
Of the six F2 722s that do not have known chassis numbers, Mike Beuttler's was kept as a test car by March; Jimmy Mieusset retained his hillclimb car; John Smith retained his car; and the Heroes Racing Corporation car stayed in Japan for Motoharu Kurosawa; but both the Eifelland cars driven by Hannelore Werner and Werner Schommers disappeared.
Apart from Guy Tunmer's car, there are three other mystery 722s in 1973: Holman Blackburn's car where there is strong circumstantial evidence that it was Adrian Wilkins' 722/15; the 1600cc car driven by Benjamin Studer in Switzerland which could be the puzzling Ecurie Shell-Arnold 722/28 or could be one of the ex-Eifelland cars; and Derek Palmer's car which appeared so late in the season that it is considered below with the 1974 mysteries.
At the beginning of 1973, Holman Blackburn (Chiddingfold, Surrey) bought a March 722 with the intention of racing in Formula Atlantic. He found the car was costing more than he could afford, so when he was offered Hermetite sponsorship for a saloon car program, he sold the March. As he recalls, it went to a South American. He is not sure who it came from, but believes it may have been Adrian Wilkins' car as John Coombs, who was running Wilkins, was a friend of Blackburn's father. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Holman Blackburn. First race: Brands Hatch (R2), 18 Mar 1973. Only one recorded race.
Benjamin Studer (Grindelwald, Switzerland) raced a March 722 in the 1600cc class of Swiss national events in 1973. Nothing more known.
Driven by: Benjamin Studer. First race: Casale (R3), 13 May 1973. Total of 11 recorded races.
Derek Palmer (Douglas, Scotland) owned a Formula Atlantic March 722 in 1973 and 1974, which was driven at Ingliston by Mel Ross (Monifieth, Scotland) and Ronnie Mackay (Thurso, Scotland). After driving it at Ingliston in October 1973, Ross was entered to drive the car at Brands Hatch in March 1974 but did not appear, after which Mackay was invited to drive it in Formula Atlantic races at Brands Hatch later in the season. It is unclear how many times he actually appeared. Palmer told him that the car was "ex-Lauda", but Ronnie recalls it as very troublesome, especially on old tyres, and he really struggled with its handling. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Mel Ross, Derek Palmer and Ronnie Mackay. First race: Ingliston (R6), 14 Oct 1973. Total of 5 recorded races.
The ex-F2 March 722s in 1974
In 1974, of the thirteen Formula 2 March 722s with known chassis numbers: Ken Smith's ex-Gerry Birrell 722/1 was in New Zealand; the ex-Coombs Racing/Roy Courtney 722/4 was with Tony Martin in Dublin; Niki Lauda's works 722/5 was still with Robert Cooper for Formula Atlantic; the ex-Hiroshi Kazato 722/8 had disappeared via the mysterious "J.T. Gridley" to France; David Purley's 722/10 had been completely rebuilt to 73B specification and then disappeared; Brett Lunger's 722/11 was with Guy Tunmer in South Africa; the ex-Yves Courage 722/14 was with Roland Davril in France; Adrian Wilkins' 722/15 was missing; the ex-Xavier Perrot, ex-Paul Keller 722/16 was missing in Switzerland; the ex-works, ex-Ronnie Peterson 722/17 was missing, last seen when Silvio Montenegro crashed it in Brazil in early 1973; the ex-Ecurie Shell-Arnold 722/28 was missing; Patsy McGarrity's ex-Tom Wheatcroft Racing 722/40 was almost certainly still in Northern Ireland; and the ex-Coombs Racing 722/45 was with Derek Robinson.
Of the six F2 722s that do not have known chassis numbers, Mike Beuttler's was with the Anglo Swiss Racing Team for Gillian Orchard, Jimmy Mieusset still had his hillclimb car in reserve, John Smith retained his car, the Heroes Racing Corporation car was still somewhere in Japan, and both the Eifelland cars had disappeared.
If we assume that Holman Blackburn had the ex-Wilkins 722/15, then the missing cars were the ex-Hiroshi Kazato 722/8 thought to be in France; David Purley's Formula Atlantic 722/10 last seen in Macau with a 73B monocoque; the ex-Xavier Perrot, ex-Paul Keller 722/16 last seen in Switzerland; the ex-works, ex-Ronnie Peterson 722/17 that allegedly later shows up in South Africa; the ex-Ecurie Shell-Arnold 722/28; and the two ex-Eifelland cars. To these we must add the Holman Blackburn car in southern England and the Benjamin Studer car in Switzerland, both of which disappeared after 1973. Two unexplained cars appeared in 1974: Josef Ludescher's F2-spec car in Switzerland which we might speculate was either the ex-Xavier Perrot, ex-Paul Keller 722/16 or the mystery Studer car; and Derek Palmer's very original Formula Atlantic spec car. Palmer's car is a puzzle, as all the 722s built as Formula Atlantics are known in 1974, the Holman Blackburn car is thought to have gone to a South American, and David Purley's Formula Atlantic 722/10 had been rebuilt with a 73B monocoque. Palmer's car could have ben a converted F3 March 723.
Another unresolved puzzle is the March 722 advertised by Chris Oates (Nottingham) in early March 1974, which was fitted with a Cosworth FVA. Tom Hughes' hillclimb car in 1978 had an FVA, so it is possible this is a car that spent some years unreported in minor speed events. Again, it is not at all clear what Oates' car could have been, and a converted 723 has to be a possibility.
March 722s in Ireland
March 722s were very popular in Ireland. As well as John Smith's car which was sold new to him and raced by him until sold to Joe Greenan for 1978, at least two more 722s passed through Ireland. Roy Courtney in Northern Ireland had 722/4 in 1973; and Patsy McGarrity, also in Northern Ireland, had 722/41 which may have stayed on the island into the 1980s. Courtney's 722/4 went to Austin Kinsella in the Republic in 1975 and 1976, then to Cyril Lynch in Dublin in 1978 and 1979. Meanwhile, Joe Greenan sold the ex-John Smith car to Jimmy O'Boyle who hillclimbed it for many years before selling it back to Smith.
Josef Ludescher (Winterthur, Switzerland) appeared at several French hillclimbs in 1974, in a car identified by Echappement as 1840cc March 722 with a Ford engine of some type. He reappeared intermittently with the car in 1975 and 1976, racing it in French, German and Luxembourg hillclimbs. At least one sighting was also reported in 1977, when the car was still described as a March but had very unorthodox bodywork. Nothing more known.
Driven by: Josef Ludescher. First race: Millau-le-Buffarel, 30 Jun 1974. Total of 15 recorded races.
The ex-F2 March 722s in 1975
Two further mystery cars appeared in 1975, Albert Badan's car which was used in French hillclimbs, and François Trisconi's which was used in Swiss national racing. Badan's cannot be Mieusset's as Mieusset still had it, and cannot be the ex-Yves Courage 722/14 as that was with Robert Lucet. The ex-Hiroshi Kazato 722/8 is thought to have gone to France but not been used much, which does not match the life of Badan's car. Badan's 722 also overlaps with Josef Ludescher's similar car. Another possibility is that Badan's car was based on a 723 monocoque.
Trisconi's could be the ex-Xavier Perrot 722/16, but as Trisconi raced in the 1600cc class, the car of Benjamin Studer is more likely.
From early 1975 onwards, Albert Badan raced a March 722 in French hillclimbs. He had previously raced a 4.4-litre Kitchiner-Oldsmobile, but engines over 2000cc had been barred from the French series after Daniel Rouyveran's accident in 1973. The March was generally described as a 722, which is supported by photographs, but there were some references to it as a 712. In September 1975, it was still in standard side-radiator 722 specification. After a gap of some months in mid-1976, he returned in September 1976 with what was then called a March 742, and raced this occasionally in 1977 and 1978. By 1978, the car had 742-style sidepods and side radiators, forward-facing rollhoop stays which were only introduced in 1973, and a 762 nose. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Albert Badan. First race: Hébecrevon, 16 Mar 1975. Total of 25 recorded races.
François Trisconi (Monthey, Valais, Switzerland) drove an Ambrozium-sponsored March 722 in the 1600cc class in the Swiss championship in 1975. Nothing more known.
Driven by: François Trisconi. First race: Casale (R3), 11 May 1975. Total of 6 recorded races.
Unidentified F2 March 722s from 1976 onwards
As it has been possible to trace all but one of the Formula Atlantic March 722s through to the 1980s, and as all the Formula B March 722s went to North America, any mystery March 722s in Europe from 1976 onwards are likely to be ex-F2 cars and are therefore included on this page. However, bear in mind that the March 723 used the same monocoque, and some of these "722s" may have started life as 723s.
In 1975, Andy Smith and Rob Oldaker, both from Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, acquired a March chassis from Adrian Reynard. It had previously been raced by Max Bonnin, but it is unclear whether this is his March 723 F3 car or a 722 chassis used by him in F2. The monocoque number is reported to be AM 72-12, implying it was one of the first F2 or F3 cars built. Smith and Oldaker worked for MG Rover Group at the Longbridge factory, and built up a turbocharged 1142cc Austin Allegro engine, which contained all the latest bits from the production line and with the addition of a specially made Garratt turbocharger generated 200 bhp. Smith and Oldaker used the car in hillclimbs from 1975 until 1985, often winning the 1600cc class. The car remained in standard 722 specification during its life. After it was retired, it was stored for some time until it was auctioned by Silverstone Auctions in 2012. In January 2019, it was for sale again, owned by Ben Sargeant of Cherub Autos (Earlswood, West Midlands)
Driven by: Andy Smith and Rob Oldaker. First race: Norfolk Park, 13 Jun 1976. Total of 18 recorded races.
In 1976, Gary Ainscough (Bulawayo, Rhodesia) raced a March 74B in the South African Formula Atlantic series. It has been suggested that it was built from a March 722, chassis 722/17, but evidence for this proving elusive. It then disappeared again until 1980, when Alan MacDonald was reported to be driving the "ex-Ainscough" March. Ian Hebblethwaite then reports that it went to Dave Hart's Team Valvoline in 1981, then Kent Dyson in 1982, then to Keith Horwood for Michael Bryan in 1985, and then to Lew Baker who was the last to race it. In about 1988, it was sold via Brian Raubenheimer in South Africa to David McLaughlin in England. Its history after 1988 is still to be resolved.
Driven by: Gary Ainscough. First race: Donnybrook, 31 Jul 1976. Total of 3 recorded races.
In August 1978, Tom Hughes (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) was observed running a March 722 with FVA engine in a hillclimb at Gurston Down. He also ran at Harewood in September 1978 and was a regular entry at Harewood during 1979. He raced the car again in 1980, and was photographed in Autosport at Shelsley Walsh in August 1980 when he briefly held the 1600cc racing car class record before wrecking his 722 on the second run. From 1981 to 1984, he appeared a number of times in a March 742-FVA which is likely to have been the same car, utilising 742 bits when it was rebuilt after the Shelsley mishap. Nothing more known.
Driven by: Tom Hughes. First race: Gurston Down (R12), 27 Aug 1978. Total of 11 recorded races.
Geoff Robson raced a 1600cc March 722 in libre races at Croft in the early part of the 1979 season. At only his second race, he put a wheel on wet grass at Club corner and hit the bank both forwards and backwards. Nothing more known.
Driven by: Geoff Robson. First race: Croft, 4 Mar 1979. Total of 2 recorded races.
In 2000, Pierre Regnault owned a March 722 near Orléans in France. Regnault's cars were maintained by Dominique Huet (Millançay) and the March was seen there by American Greg Turner in 2001. The March was represented as originally a 712M which was delivered to Jacques Joliat in Switzerland and crashed, then rebuilt by Horag Engineering in Switzerland in 1974 as a 722 on either a modified or new tub. It had a chassis plate "722-00" and a Horag plate dated 1974. Turner bought the car and took it to the US, where it was extensively rebuild over several years in Indianapolis. The 722 was fitted with a Cosworth BDG engine and raced by Turner in SVRA events including the Mid-Ohio Vintage Grand Prix in June 2008. It was later sold via David Irwin (Evergreen, CO) to Charles Maranto (Zionsville, IN) in December 2022.
Andreas Paulsen (Sweden) is believed to have acquired a March 722 in either the late 1970s or the late 1980s. This was sold to Henning Bitsch (Denmark) who raced it up to about 1999 or 2000, having last rebuilt it in 1998. Sold to Andrew Thorpe (Huddersfield, West Yorkshire) in 2010. Still with Thorpe in January 2018, when the car was at Simon Hadfield's having its tub rebuilt, but by May 2019 it was owned by Nick Pancisi (Ashbourne, Derbyshire) and being prepared at rebuilt in the workshop of Gerry Wainwright (Burton, Staffordshire). It was crashed first time out by Pancisi at Donington and is believed to have been rebuilt by Wainwright on a new monocoque. Raced by Nick Pancisi in HSCC Aurora Trophy races in 2020.
In addition to the above, an unknown March 722 was driven by Fredy Link.
I am also grateful for all the information provided by a host of people during the research of this page, but I would like to highlight Chris Townsend for his ground-breaking work on this subject, to Ian Hebblethwaite for information on the two South African cars, to former owner Murray Biddick, to Marcus Pye for his assistance; and to Gerald Swan, Stuart Dent, Steve Wilkinson, Alan Cox, Simon Arron and Michael Hewitt for their photographs. Thanks also to Jeff O'Boyle for the history of the John Smith March 722.
These histories last updated on .