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The Penske PC1 was a Formula One racing car developed and raced by Penske Racing during the 1974 and 1975 Formula One seasons. The car was designed by Geoff Ferris, and was raced by drivers Mark Donohue and John Watson. The PC1 entered and competed in 12 Grands Prix, and was replaced by the Penske PC3 in the 1976 season.[2]

Penske PC1
Penske PC1 driven by Mark Donohue during the 1975 Race of Champions
CategoryFormula One
ConstructorTeam Penske
Designer(s)Geoff Ferris
Technical specifications[1]
ChassisAluminium monocoque
Axle trackFront: 1,473 mm (58.0 in)
Rear: 1,524 mm (60.0 in)
Wheelbase2,540 mm (100 in)
EngineFord Cosworth DFV 2,993 cc (182.6 cu in) V8 naturally aspirated Mid-engine, longitudinally mounted
TransmissionHewland FG 400 5-speed manual
Weight582 kg (1,283 lb)
Competition history
Notable entrantsPenske Cars
Notable driversUnited States Mark Donohue
United Kingdom John Watson
Debut1974 Canadian Grand Prix
Constructors' Championships0
Drivers' Championships0


Penske Racing (later renamed to Team Penske) was formed in 1968 by successful American motorsport entrepreneur Roger Penske. The team remains the last American team to win a Formula One Grand Prix (the 1976 Austrian Grand Prix).[3]

In 1973, Penske purchased the facilities of small racing car manufacturer McRae Cars Ltd in Poole, Dorset in the UK. McRae Cars had been founded by New Zealand racing driver and constructor Graeme McRae, a globally successful designer and competitor in the F5000 racing formula. Starting with just six employees, Penske appointed his then Porsche Can-Am team manager, Swiss Heinz Hofer, as F1 manager, and Geoff Ferris as chief engineer/designer. Rounding-out the F1 team was Karl Kainhofer,[4] Penske's long-standing chief mechanic and engine builder, who joined the UK operation in mid 1974.[5]

By late summer in 1974, the team unveiled their first car, named the PC1, an aluminium monocoque chassis built around a Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0-litre V8 engine and a Hewland FG 400 gearbox. Penske Racing entered Formula One at the 1974 Canadian Grand Prix held at Mosport Park, Ontario, using seasoned driver Mark Donohue, who had driven for Penske in Indycar before being elevated to team manager of the US Penske operations.[5] Donohue had retired from motorsport at the end of the 1973 season, but returned to full-time competitive driving for Penske in Formula One.[6] Donohue had previously raced in Formula One in a Penske-sponsored McLaren in 1971, competing in two races, the Canadian Grand Prix and the United States Grand Prix.[6]

Racing historyEdit


The PC1 made its debut at the 1974 Canadian Grand Prix with Donohue qualifying 24th and finishing 12th.[7] Donohue retired from his and Penske's home race at the subsequent 1974 United States Grand Prix held at Watkins Glen after qualifying 14th, failing to finish the race due to rear suspension failure.[5][8]

The Penske team scored no World Championship points during the 1974 year.


Roger Penske planned a full season with the PC1 for 1975, but it turned out to be a difficult season for the Penske team and a tragic one for Donohue.

The first race of 1975 was the 1975 Argentine Grand Prix and Donohue finished seventh.[9] Donohue retired from the Brazilian Grand Prix because of a handling issue.[10] The South African Grand Prix saw Donohue finish eighth.[11] Donohue retired from the Spanish Grand Prix when he and Alan Jones (Hesketh) crashed after hitting oil dropped onto the circuit by the car of Jody Scheckter (Tyrrell).[12] The Monaco Grand Prix saw Donohue abandon the race after he had an accident.[13] Donohue finished 11th at Belgium.[14] The Swedish Grand Prix saw Donohue finish fifth.[15] The American finished eighth at Holland.[16] The French Grand Prix saw Donohue retire from the race due to transmission failure.[17]

The PC1 was retired after the French Grand Prix, and Penske entered a March 751 for the next three races. Donohue badly crashed the 751 in the final practice session of the Austrian Grand Prix and suffered severe concussion. He regained consciousness briefly at the circuit, but fell unconscious again at the hospital. An emergency operation to relieve pressure on his brain was unsuccessful, and he died from his injuries. A track marshall was also killed in this accident.[3][5]

The Penske team chose to miss the Italian Grand Prix, returning for the United States Grand Prix. For this race the March 751 was abandoned in favour of the team's newly developed Penske PC3 driven by Northern Irish driver John Watson. Watson used the car in practice sessions and qualified 12th, but technical problems with the car forced him to switch to the spare PC1 for the actual race. Watson finished ninth in the PC1.[18]

The Penske team scored two World Championship points during the 1975 year.

Complete Formula One World Championship resultsEdit


Year Entrant Engine Tyres Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Points WCC
Mark Donohue 12 Ret
1975 Penske Cars Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G ARG BRA RSA ESP MON BEL SWE NED FRA GBR GER AUT ITA USA 2 12th
Mark Donohue 7 Ret 8 Ret Ret 11 5 8 Ret
John Watson 9

Non-Championship resultsEdit

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Engine Driver Tyres 1 2 3
1975 Penske Cars Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G ROC INT SUI
Mark Donohue Ret 6


  1. ^ Stats F1. "Penske PC1". Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  2. ^ "Penske PC1". Jonathan Davies. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Roger Penske's Nearly Forgotten American F1 Team". Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  4. ^ "Gordon Kirby - Auto Racing - The Way It Is". Retrieved 2016-07-26.
  5. ^ a b c d Kirby, Gordon (2015-01-16). "Penske's F1 cars". Motor Sport. Retrieved 2016-07-25.
  6. ^ a b Small, Steve (1994). The Guinness Complete Grand Prix Who's Who. Guinness. p. 123. ISBN 0851127029.
  7. ^ "Grand Prix results, Canadian GP 1974". Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  8. ^ "Grand Prix results, United States GP 1974". Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  9. ^ "Grand Prix results, Argentine GP 1975". Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  10. ^ "Grand Prix results, Brazilian GP 1975". Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  11. ^ "Grand Prix results, South African GP 1975". Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  12. ^ "Grand Prix results, Spanish GP 1975". Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  13. ^ "Grand Prix results, Monaco GP 1975". Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  14. ^ "Grand Prix results, Belgian GP 1975". Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  15. ^ "Grand Prix results, Swedish GP 1975". Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  16. ^ "Grand Prix results, Dutch GP 1975". Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  17. ^ "Grand Prix results, French GP 1975". Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  18. ^ "Grand Prix results, United States GP 1975". Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  19. ^ Small, Steve (1994). The Guinness Complete Grand Prix Who's Who. Guinness. pp. 123 and 396. ISBN 0851127029.
  20. ^ "1975 BRDC International Trophy". Retrieved 18 June 2016.