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South-East Asian racing 1976

In April 1975, it was announced that for 1976, all countries in Southeast Asia would adopt Formula Atlantic rules, with the single change that fuel injection would be allowed on the Cosworth BDA. Cosworth produced the Cosworth BDM, a large valve fuel-injected version version of the engine, in 1975. However, when the Rothmans International Grand Prix Trophy was announced in February 1976, the promoters said that "race organisers are looking for cars of 1600cc 4 cylinders, 4 valves per cylinder, unsupercharged/free". John MacDonald was quoted calling it "Super Formula Atlantic/Libre" and saying that any "Atlantic, Cosworth, FVA or BDM" engines would be competitive. In November 1976, leading contender Graeme Lawrence noted a further difference, in that the Southeast Asian series allowed larger BDA valves, but New Zealand's new Formula Pacific, which debuted at Manfeild on 31 October 1976, required smaller ones.

Lawrence won the opening race in his new March 76B, which was supplied with a fuel-injected Hart engine, but he swapped to a Cosworth FVA for the second race. John MacDonald had a Ralt RT1, and won the second race; he also tried out a FVA during 1976. Also buying new equipment were Albert Poon, who had a Chevron B34, and Grant Swartz who acquired a Lola T460, both powered by BDA derivatives. Sonny Rajah also updated his March with a BDA. The Macau Grand Prix drew more cars, including a Ralt RT1 and an older March 722 from Theodore Racing for Vern Schuppan and Alan Jones, Rupert Keegan in an ex-Fred Opert Chevron B35, and David Purley in a Team Harper Modus M3. Schuppan won in Macau, but Lawrence then won the Philippines GP to take the title, with MacDonald runner up.

Rothmans International Trophy races

02 May 1976 > Penang Grand Prix

15 Aug 1976 > Selangor Grand Prix at Batu Tiga

24 Oct 1976 > Indonesia Grand Prix at Jakarta-Ancol Jaya

14 Nov 1976 > Macau Grand Prix

19 Dec 1976 > Philippines Grand Prix at Manila-Greenhills

1976 Rothmans International Trophy Championship table

1Graeme Lawrence32 pts 
2John MacDonald27 pts