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Group C: The Rise and Fall of the Golden Age of Endurance Racing: Cars and Constructors Part 2

Submitted by on March 12, 2019

By Marcel Hundscheid / Speed-O-Graphica

We pick up our Group C retrospective with a look at the machines of Argo Racing Cars from Switzerland.

Argo Racing Cars

Swiss designer Jo Marquart and British mechanic Nick Jordan founded Argo Racing Cars in the ’80s. Besides constructing single -seaters for Formula Three, Formula Atlantic and Formula Super Vee, Argo built sports prototypes for the World Sportscar Championship, under Group C rules, and the IMSA GT Championship. Argo’s JM19 appeared in 1987 and was in fact a development of the earlier JM16 that raced in the IMSA GT Championship.

Three versions of the JM19 were developed, taking the constructor into the early ’90s. Marquart partnered with Austrian designer Achim Storz, who used carbon-fibre composites to reduce weight. The Argo JM19B, C and D models were mainly used under Group C rules equipped with different engines from Zakspeed, Cosworth and Minardi Motori Moderni.

Pictured above is Argo JM19C-008-C2, seen at a race of the Group C series during the 2012 Spa Classic. This car originally raced in the American IMSA series in the mid-to-late eighties under Group C rules.

Illustrated below is chassis JM19C-121-C2, seen at the Spa Classic in 2012. Former European rally cross champion Martin Schanche from Norway and Briton Will Hoy scored several pole positions in a Argo JM19C in the World Sportscar Championship between 1986 and 1988. This car was Argo’s first car powered by a Cosworth DFV. It was driven by Schanche in Group C2.

The Argo JM19D was followed by the JM20, designed for privateers in the Group C1 class. Besides one for a customer in Switzerland and Germany, no further chassis were constructed.

Aston Martin

A partnership created between Peter Livanos, Victor Gauntlett, Richard Williams and Ray Mallock was formed in late 1987 to create Proteus Technology Ltd, which would develop and race the AMR1. Max Bostrom and Ray Mallock designed the car, which would appear in the 1989 World Sports Prototype Championship.

Pictured below is chassis AMR1/05 seen in action at the Spa Classic in 2014. Five cars were built and AMR1/05 was the last. Powered by an Aston Martin 6.3 litre V8 that generated 740 hp, and weighing in at just 904 kilograms, it was the lightest and most powerful of the cars. During its period career, chassis AMR1/05 was driven by Brian Redman, David Leslie, David Sears and Stanley Dickens. The car competed in three world championship events during 1989 at Donington, Spa and Mexico.

In the next episode we will continue our overview with Cheetah Automobiles.

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