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March 822 F2

Photo: Peter Collins
Photo: Peter Collins

One of the best cars I have driven is the Alfa Romeo 155 V-6 Ti which I used to compete in the Deutsche Tourenwagen-Meisterschaft and International Touring Car race series in the 1990s. I drove for the TV Spielfilm and the Jas racing teams. It gave me victories, pole positions, fastest laps and things like that. However, I must qualify things here, I consider a car such as this a car that can be raced, but not a racing car. To me a racing car is just that, a car specifically designed to race, not adapted to race. So please forget touring cars as being racing cars!

In Formula One the Zakspeed cars were quite an experience, not very good cars, not so slow though. They did the best with the facilities and budget they had available. Unfortunately, I did not score any world championship points with them, but it did give me a foot into the world of Formula One, where I also drove for Osella, Arrows, and Rial.

Looking back, I like a car that gives me fun and enjoyment in racing. The Grand Prix Masters car made by Delta certainly fits the bill; it’s just fast enough, just about as fast as an F3000 car; it’s forgiving but a little edgy, it has downforce but not crazy amounts; it’s got quite a bit of “grunt,” and it’s drivable and gives such a wonderful feeling when you reach the limit. You can feel yourself squeezing the last tenth of power out of it. It really was a great car for the Grand Prix Masters Silverstone race in 2006 where the track conditions were wet and very slippery. Unfortunately, it does not fit in with this column, either!

A car that I wished I could have raced was the Penske Indycar with the stock block Ilmor engine. It had about 200 bhp more than any other Indycar. The lucky drivers were Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti, Al Unser Jr., and Paul Tracy. I could just imagine myself driving it around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The team had so much success with the car. Motor racing is always a question of being in the right place, at the right time, for the right drive.

Back to reality and looking at the cars I have driven, I suppose it depends as much on the opposition as anything else, but the car that gave me the most pleasure to drive was definitely the 1982 F2 March BMW 822. What a sensational car. It was one of those very few cars that gave the perfect balance, not just in parts of the race, but for the whole race, lap after lap. It was only my second season of F2 but already I could tell this was just an incredible car. March was later to give me the inaugural European F3000 championship in 1985, with the March 85B Cosworth-powered car, as well.

As told to Mike Jiggle