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The 1989 March-Alfa Romeo 89CE story
Alfa's first CA(R)Tastrophe


Related articles


Roberto Guerrero


March-Alfa Romeo 89CE




March 1989

Roberto Guerrero, March-Alfa Romeo 89CE

This write-up came along after the two authors got in touch with each other after Aldo made copies available to Henri of the articles involving Alfa Romeo's 1989 efforts as printed in Autosprint magazine. Aldo also included English summaries of the contents.

In Henri's series about the 1990 efforts with the March-Alfa 90CA, some attention was given to the preceding year with the 89CE. Reading the information in these Italian articles it occurred to us that there was ample opportunity to dedicate more attention to this first season of the Alfa Indycar project. The manner in which the Italian press covered the project, and the gossip included in the articles, was on occasion most surprising.

And so the idea arose to present a look at the first year of the Alfa Indycar project using the Autosprint articles as the backbone. For Indycar fans who are familiar with the CART scene of the era, the contents of these articles may cause some raised eyebrows. Then again, Alfa fans who may not be all too familiar with the ins and outs of the CART scene may miss out due to the manner in which the Italian magazine presented its information, since at times there was much more to tell about certain details, but the Italians refrained from doing so. In other words, stories, details, observations and so on based on knowledge and data found elsewhere could be added to this 'Italian backbone' to create a more detailed story about Alfa's first year of participation in the competitive CART series.

Of all the CART designs by March using the March name, the 89CE is among the rarest of them all, with (reputedly) only two examples ever built. It is also one of the least successful and, likely because of that, one of the least known.

Why the car was no success, the full story remains to be told. But here is at least an attempt to start with.

It is our hope that although readers might read things with which they are familiar with because of their prime interest they will still find enough new data and insights to enjoy this series. Visitors who have read these pages and feel they can contribute with further information, facts, and pictures etc. are invited to contact us.



Autosprint magazines, several editions published in 1989
Weekly magazine published in Italy, also devoting attention to CART and the Alfa Romeo CART project. These articles provided the backbone around which this entire write-up was built up.

Carl Hungness Indianapolis 500 Yearbooks, 1988 & 1989
Carl Hungness Publishing, Speedway, IN
Annuals focusing on the 500 miles race, valuable sources of information and likeable books.

CART, The Men and Machines of Indycar Racing, editions of seasons 1988 & 1989
Autosport International, New York, NY

March, The Grand Prix & Indy Cars
Alan Henry
Hazleton Publishing, Richmond, Surrey, England (1989)
Given the short time March lived on after the release of this book, this is one of those books - as good as it is - you wished was published a bit later in order for the story to be complete.

March: The Rise and Fall of Motor Racing
Mike Lawrence
Motor Racing Publications; revised, expanded edition (September 16, 2001)
Updated version of a book first published in 1990, so about the same time as 4 and so in the same position as 4: published a bit too early. This expanded edition makes up for that to some extent but regrettably the two Indycar projects only get little extra coverage, the 90CA isn't even dealt with at all!

CART, The First 20 Years 1979-1998
Rick Shaffer
Hazleton Publishing, Richmond, Surrey, England (1999), pages 108-110

Autosport magazines, several editions issued in 1988, 1989 and 1990
Haymarket Publishing
Weekly magazine, one of the leading magazines worldwide for international racing, comprehensive attention devoted to Indianapolis and CART racing.

Autovisie magazines, several editions published in 1989
Uitgeverij Bonaventura
Fortnightly Dutch publication, occasionally some attention given to CART racing.

Nye's one, Fast Lane, May 1989
Column in the particular edition of this montlhy magazine.

Alfacorse Press Information 1989

Day-by-Day Trackside Report for the Media, years 1988 and 1989
Indianapolis Motor Speedway PR dept.
We made use of digital versions of these reports as found on the Internet.

We also had some personal correspondence with Chip Ganassi, team manager of Chip Ganassi Racing, and made use of private correspondence between Henri Greuter and Johnny Capels.

Thanks to Andy Gilberg, webmaster at Marchives, for his assistance in finding a suitable manner to include a few pictures in this story. To anyone who has pictures of the 89CE made in the 1989 season and wants to share them, feel free to contact us.

About what happened before the 89CE started its active career

Before, Henri published a series of articles about the 1990 March-Alfa efforts in which attention was given to all the participants in this project. For the sake of being complete, the following articles with that 1990 project series can also be read in order to get a better idea of how this 1989 CART project came about and who and what were involved.

For those entirely unfamiliar with the Alfa Indycar project it may be helpful to first read the following two articles before starting the main chapter of this series.

The chapters about 1989 (dealing with the 1990 project partners in the previous year, so a look at the events taking place during 1989) that are included are:

Some of the contents of the last four parts mentioned are also dealt with in this particular series but in a different context. These four chapters described the road to what happened in 1990, by way of an introduction. In this write-up, however, 1989 is the primary subject.

It is fairly well known that the Alfa CART exploits found their roots in the mid-eighties Ferrari CART project. The Fiasco Italo-Brittanico series contains a chapter about this project as part of the introduction leading to the Alfa project.

In later years, however, Henri compiled a series about Ferrari at Indy which contained a chapter about this particular CART project as well. Since that time, his views and the opinions on this Ferrari CART project have changed quite a bit. So for a more up-to-date and extended insight into the Ferrari CART project we refer to the following page: