Amelia Island | Lot 195
1981 March 811 Formula 1
From The Estate of John Campion
$335,000 USD | Sold
| Amelia Island, Florida
22 May 2021
- Offered from the Estate of John Campion
- Driven by Derek Daly during 1981 Formula One World Championship season
- Subsequently run by Val Musetti and John Graham in British Formula One and Can-Am events
- Fully rebuilt and crack tested in 2016 by front-running Historic Formula One team Lyons Racing
- Set up analysed and optimised by leading Vehicle Dynamics Consultancy GSD RaceDyn
- Fitted with low hours Hyspeed Racing-built Cosworth DFV, and Hewland FGA by PDS Racing
- Eligible for Masters Historic Racing events
Having run a 1979-specification Williams FW07 in British Formula One events and seven Grands Prix in 1980, the plucky but perennially underfunded RAM team approached March to construct a new car for the 1981 World Championship season. In his resulting design, March front-man Robin Herd borrowed heavily from the Williams, the new 811 being a relatively conventional DFV-powered, aluminium honeycomb-chassised device with a Hewland FGA gearbox.
This chassis, 811-05, was used by Irish former Ensign and Tyrrell driver Derek Daly throughout the 1981 season. Having failed to qualify for its first two races in Belgium and Monaco, it was used in qualifying sessions for the remainder of the year, achieving valiant 22nd and 20th place grid positions in the Spanish and French Grands Prix respectively.
The high point of the season was Daly’s herculean effort at Silverstone, in which he hauled 811-05 to 17th place on the grid, ahead of Alboreto’s Tyrrell and both Lotuses of Mansell and De Angelis. That his qualifying lap was only four seconds slower than Arnoux’s pole sitting turbo-powered Renault - enjoying roughly a 100 bhp power advantage, as well as a state-of-the-art carbon fibre chassis - and a mere 2.5 seconds off Pironi’s fourth-placed Ferrari, underlined the popular Dubliner’s commitment. In the race, Daly opted to use 811-06, a heroic seventh place at the finish cruelly denying the team a deserved World Championship point. Thereafter, Daly qualified 811-05 21st in Germany, 19th in Austria, Holland and Italy, and 20th in Canada, regularly outperforming the car and embarrassing better funded opposition.
At the conclusion of the 1981 season, 811-05 was sold to UK-based Italian stuntman Val Musetti who used the Colin Bennett Racing-run car to contest the 1982 British Formula One Championship. After podium finishes at Brands Hatch and Thruxton, Musetti won the non-Championship Formule Libre race at Oulton Park before shipping the car, now in wide-bodied quasi-sports car form, to the US to contest the remaining rounds of the 1982 Can-Am series. Following retirements at Road America and Trois Rivieres, Canadian John Graham took over the car for the last four rounds of the series; ninth and eighth-placed finishes at Caesar’s Palace and Laguna Seca respectively being the highlights.
Restored to Formula One specification by Don Wood in 1988, 811-05 has since been campaigned extensively in Historic Formula One events and has been run for about five hours with the current owners. It is offered with six spare wheels fitted with tires. Recently overhauled by leading race preparation team Lyons Racing, which included both engine and gearbox rebuilds by Hyspeed Racing and PDS Racing respectively, it is ready to return to the track imminently and would offer a relatively cost effective and “low hours” entry into the numerous Historic Formula One events for which it is eligible.