Hot, sunny weather shone down on Nuremberg on the 28th of June in 1970. As usual, perfect conditions for the annual Norisring event. The highlight of the weekend were the 200 Miles of Nuremberg, which featured two important debuts. One was the first race of the newly-created Interserie for two-seater sports cars meeting regulations for Groups 5 to 7. The other was a brand-new Group 7 racer, which turned its first competitive laps on the famous German street circuit.
What do you do when you’ve signed a world-class driver but can’t afford to pay him the agreed salary? Well, 50 years ago the solution was to build him a car he could race, and therefore earn money with, elsewhere. That’s precisely what happened with new manufacturer March, only formed in 1969, and its works driver Chris Amon in 1970. Thanks to the promise of a princely wage, March founders Robin Herd and Max Mosley had lured the 26-year-old Kiwi from Ferrari to drive the March 701 in Formula 1. Amon was at the time acknowledged as one of the best F1 drivers in the world, despite having famously never won a Grand Prix. As it would turn out, he never would.
What Herd and Mosley didn’t know was how they were going to raise the money to pay Amon. When his salary was due and the cash wasn’t there, March offered to instead build Amon a sports car that he could use in the lucrative Can-Am series in North America to earn some prize money. The New Zealander liked the offer, sensing it could be the first step toward his own Amon Racing squad in the future…
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by Harold Schwarz
Photographs: Motorsportimages, McKlein, Sammlung Robert Weber/Helmut Wenz, Ferdi Kräling, Nils Ruwisch, Lionel Birnbom