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Race like an Egyptian




Mike Beuttler (Jacky Ickx, Jean-Pierre Beltoise, Clay Regazzoni)


Clarke-Mordaunt-Guthrie-Durlacher March-Cosworth 731 (Iso-Marlboro-Cosworth IR, BRM P160E, BRM P160E)


Watkins Glen


1973 US Grand Prix


The 1973 US Grand Prix is remembered formost for snatching away from us the talent of François Cevert, a tragedy that prompted newly-crowned Champion Jackie Stewart to forfeit the completion of his century of 100 Grands Prix. The fact that the same event was Mike Beuttler's final GP has therefore become even more marginal than the average midfielder's swansong F1 race.

Egypt-born Beuttler was the son of a British soldier stationed in Cairo and took to racing immediately after leaving school at 16. It took him a full eight years before he reached a professional level, lining up his own Brabham F3 car in several F Libre events. In 1969 his career took an upswing when he forged into F3, backed by stockbroker duo Ralph Clarke and David Mordaunt. Beuttler soon stood out, showing considerable talent. The following season he won three F3 races (one abroad at Montlhéry) and finished third in the Shellsport championship.

After Alistair Guthrie had joined the team of backers the next step up was a serious F2 effort with works March support. A win at Vallelunga netted Mike a handful of races in F1, courtesy of Messrs Mosley and Herd. 1972 saw another eight forays into F1, unsuccessful by anyone's standards, but certainly not by the works factory's. The March outfit was plagued by the difficult 721X and canned the design (much to the delight of its star drivers Peterson and Lauda) when it saw Beuttler going quicker in an adapted F2 722 with a DFV stuck in the back!

For 1973 things looked better after the trio of Clarke-Mordaunt-Guthrie teamed up with Rob Walker's old sparring partner Jack Durlacher. From its fourth race on the CMGD team got their hands on a 1973 upgrade kit for their 721G, the March team doing their usual trick of selling latest-spec equipment to anyone interested. Its 1973 customers included David Purley and his LEC team, the tragic Roger Williamson and of course James Hunt, who often outshone Jarier in the works 731, thanks to the magic of a young Harvey Postlethwaite. Lord Hesketh's protege was the true star of the US GP, the private March harrying Ronnie Peterson's Lotus throughout the race and finishing a close second.

Beuttler's final appearance on the GP scene was slightly less prominent, Mike finishing a downcast 10th, 1 lap behind, after having failed to fight off the attentions of Ickx, Beltoise and Regazzoni.