LEYTON HOUSE FORMULA ONE RACING TEAM  l  PHOTOS BY STEFFEN SCHULZ, KLAUS EWALD &  LEYTON HOUSE PRESS OFFICE

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When FIA had decided to make Formula One return to normally-aspirated engines step by step from 1987 on, MARCH`s technical chief Robin Herd wanted to return into Grand Prix Racing as a constructor in their own rights. The Gordon Coppuck designed March 871 was powered by a 3.5 litre Ford Cosworth V8 engine for a single entry of rising Italian star Ivan Capelli with Japanese group LEYTON HOUSE as their title sponsor giving the cars the characteristic turquoise livery. Because of the 871 being not ready for competing in the first round of the 1987 worldchampionship held at Brazilian Rio Capelli had to appear with a simply modified Formula 3000 car to fulfill the FIA regulations making the teams take part in all rounds of the season. The following years Bicester entered LEYTON HOUSE March Judd V8s for Ivan Capelli and Maurizio Gugelmin from Brazil, a close friend of legendary Ayrton Senna. For 1990 Leyton House owner Akira Akagi  from Japan  bought the majority of the British company to establish himself as a constructor. With former journalist Ian Phillips being the team manager young Adrian Newey designed the Leyton House  Judd CG901  (the CG stands for Capelli`s  manager Cesare Cariboldi, who had been killed in a road car crash). The car was very quick on fast tracks, but on the slower ones it made Capelli and Gugelmin fail to qualify for several times. Newey, who had been mislead by defect air pressure sensors during the wind tunnel tests when designing the CG901,  was replaced by Gustav Brunner from Austria. For 1991 Brunner designed the Leyton House CG911 powered by an Illmor V10 engine; the company of Swiss engineer Mario Illien and his partner Paul Morgan (for this reason called Illmor), in the years before very successful in IndyCar racing, gave their debut in Formula One. The following years Illmor became the successful  Grand Prix engine manufacturer for Mercedes-Benz (and their partner McLaren). After the Stuttgart based car maker had brought Michael Schumacher into Formula One at Jordan and later Benetton earlier that year, they did the same with their second works driver Karl Wendlinger at Leyton House at the end of 1991 making the Austrian replace Ivan Capelli at the final worldchampionship round, the Australian Grand Prix held at Adelaide. In September 1991 Akari Akagi had been put into jail for being involved in a big financial scandal in his home country. For this reason the team was sold to a consortium around Gustav Brunner and Akagi`s former partner Ken Marrable. The company was re-named into March, but they were only able to aquire smaller sponsors from time to time. At the beginning of the season the cars were driven by Karl Wendlinger and Paul Belmondo, the son of  famous French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo.  Despite the permanent lack of financial backing Wendlinger scored a fine fourth place at the Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal. Later he and his team mate were replaced by so-called pay drivers, but only after a short while Wendlinger made a big step forward in his carreer when being appointed number one driver at the de facto Mercedes-Benz works team of Sauber in Switzerland. On the other side  March went into bankruptcy at the end of 1992.

 

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