A long harboured dream finally came true for Wolfgang Kaufmann this last weekend – the return to the cockpit of a single-seater racecar. The resurrection of a March 782 BMW had been i n the works since the summer of 2017; at the Bosch Historic – Jim Clark Revival the car finally returned to the track.
„The car ran its last race in 1978“, Kaufmann points out one special part of the story, „and now, 41 years on, the Formula 2 March will make its comeback at Hockenheim.“ The Roll-out and first test runs were scheduled for Thursday. „I had a good handle of the car from the outset. Everything worked just fine, and I was immediately able to put fast laps on the clock.“
On Friday, the rain came to Hockenheim. Nonetheless, the free practice and qualifying sessions showed promising results, with consistently fast lap times, and the car showing good stability even on rain tyres. Third place on the grid of 35 cars was a strong indicator of the Piranha's pace!
The rain looked set to continue into saturday, so Kaufmann and his team opted for a wet weather setup with very soft suspension settings and rain tyres. „Only two cars took the start on slicks, all others had picked wets, just like us“, recalls Kaufmann who had high hopes of a strong result. The initial race conditions also offered plenty of driving fun on a slippery track. Then, the rain stopped.
„I had to slow up to keep the tyres from overheating and losing traction“, Kaufmann says about his approach to the remainder of the race on a rapidly drying racing line. Thanks to his wealth of racing experience, Kaufmann brought the March to the flag in 4th place in his first race with this 300+ bhp single-seater. His summary: „Of course I would have preferred a podium spot; but all things considered, this result was fine with me.“
On Sunday, the final race was a wholly different game. The rain stayed away from Hockenheim. With the car once again set up for dry conditions, the Piranha was hungry! It was time to burn rubber, literally, as the fight ensued among the lead group. „This is a very competitive international series, no Sunday drivers here! Everybody drives the vintage machinery the way it is meant to be. It is good, hard racing.“ With 15 laps completed on the 4.6 kilometer track, Kaufmann took the flag in 2nd position – the desired podium result! Kaufmann is the first to admit that it was very hard work: „In the second half of the race, the gearbox kept jumping into neutral from fourth gear; I had to hold on to the gear lever. But we did it!“
Kaufmann's final summation of the Bosch Historic is positive: „It was a great event with a big audience that made for an amazing atmosphere. Just the cheers and jubilation when I stood on the podium gave me goosebumps. Many thanks to everyone!“ It was a good Formula 2 premiere for the team Kremer Racing Cologne as well: „The car is a whole lot of fun. 500 kgs and 300 bhp make for a fascinating driving experience. Add to this the sound from an open exhaust. It makes for a grin so wide it barely fits under the helmet!“
This satisfying premiere calls for an encore performance. The next Formula 2 race will be the Classic GP at Silverstone which already has 60 F2 cars entered. But before Kaufmann can go single-seater racign again, he has another round of the Cup & Tourenwagen Trophy on his schedule. Driving the BMW Z4 M Coupé at Oschersleben, the Piranha once again has a win in his sights.