With the acquisition of one of its major rivals on the world stage, Ralt, the March Group has moved a step closer to becoming the largest manufacturer of international formulae racing cars, with high volume market openings to complement its existing high-value export-led sales.
Its subsidiary March Engineering has purchased the entire share-capital of Ralt Holdings, including the Ralt Racing name, for £1.25-million, thus effectively adding Formulas Three, Atlantic and SuperVee to a range of interests which already includes F1, F3000, Group C, CART/Indycars and contract engineering on road-car projects.
Founded by former Brabham F1 designer and manager Ron Tauranac in 1974, Ralt has won more than 40 racing championships in Europe, Australasia and the USA. Under the aegis of its new parent, the 18,000 sq ft Weybridge factory will continue to manufacture chassis under the Ralt name for its traditional strongholds such as F3, though obviously the two marques’ currently competing works F3000 operations will be streamlined for 1989.
Tauranac himself has signed a three-year rolling consultancy contract with March, and will work on next year’s Indycar. He joins a strong Group design team which already includes Adrian Newey (F1), Ralph Bellamy (F3000) and Gordon Coppuck (March-Porsche Indycar).
March Engineering is the volume manufacturing arm of March Group plc, selling about 80 rolling chassis per year as well as building racing gearboxes. Products of the Bicester factory won the first three International F3000 Championships in 1985-87 (plus this year’s Japanese series) and five consecutive Indianapolis 500-Mile Races between 1983 and 1987; it also has a monopoly on chassis-supply for the American Racing Series (the western equivalent of F3000).
Further subsidiaries of the Group include March Racing Ltd, which is the works Grand Prix team, and March Engineering Products Ltd, March Wind-Tunnels Ltd and Composite Technics Ltd (Comtec) which, among other projects, played a key role in the aerodynamic styling of the Panther Solo 2 road-car.