Raced by 1999 Le Mans winner Pierluigi Martini in the 1985 Formula 1 World Championship
Raced by the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix winner Alessandro Nannini in the 1986 Formula 1 World Championship
Powered by a reliable and period-correct Cosworth DFV V8 engine
Recently crack-tested and fresh from a full gearbox rebuild
Accompanied by a generous spares package including wheels, tyres and assorted pieces of aluminium and carbon-fibre bodywork
Featuring a carbon-Kevlar honeycomb monocoque to protect the driver
Eligible for the 2024 Grand Prix de Monaco Historique, the Masters Racing Legends historic Formula 1 series in both Europe and the USA, and the popular Historic Minardi Day
Recently refinished in its exact 1985 livery
Formula 1, 1985. McLaren’s Alain Prost snatches title victory from Ferrari’s Michele Alboreto – the first of the clinical Frenchman’s four championship wins. Veteran Niki Lauda announces his retirement… again. Promising upstarts Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell score their first respective victories.
Nineteen eighty-five can also be remembered for the Formula 1 debut of the small Italian outfit Minardi – a name which would become a staple of the grid for two decades and garner a loyal swathe of disciples charmed by its plucky spirit and boundless ambition. Founded by the longstanding Fiat dealer Giancarlo Minardi, the team had found its feet in the Formula 3 and Formula 2 categories in the 1970s.
With his final Formula 2 design, the M283 of 1983 and ’84, Minardi designer Giacomo Caliri had undeniably worked with motorsport’s top-flight in mind. The team’s first Formula 1 challenger, the M185, was an impressive and technologically advanced car – a serious signal of intent from what was the new face on the block.
The car’s narrow monocoque chassis was crafted from a strong mix of carbon-fibre, Kevlar and aluminium honeycomb. State-of-the-art pull-rod suspension was utilised at the front. And the sculpted ground-effect bodywork clung to the neatly packaged mechanical components like a skin-tight dress, especially at the rear, where only the top wishbones interrupted the airflow.
While a turbocharged V6 produced by Motori Moderni was earmarked to power the M185, the new engine wasn’t quite ready for the start of the 1985 season so the tried-and-tested Ford Cosworth DFV V8 was employed for the first two races in Brazil and Portugal. For its maiden foray into the world of Formula 1, Minardi entered a single car to be driven by the young Italian Pierluigi Martini, who’d famously go on to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1999 as part of the Works BMW outfit.
The widely-respected online motorsport publication The Race recently ranked all 37 drivers who raced for Minardi between 1985 and 2005. And in a list which included such high-profile names as Andrea de Cesaris, Michele Alboreto, Mark Webber and, of course, Fernando Alonso, Martini was chosen as number one.
“In a list which included such high-profile names as Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso, Pierluigi Martini was chosen as the number-one Minardi driver.”
In the story, Martini was described as “the quintessential Minardi driver”, who “scored 42 percent of Minardi’s points”. His three stints at the team and 102 race starts showed fierce loyalty – loyalty which garnered great favour among the team’s similarly loyal band of followers.
This M185 is chassis number 002, which was entered in seven rounds of the 1985 season for Martini to drive. History-steeped circuits at which it raced that year included the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Canada, Silverstone in England and the legendary Nürburgring in Germany.
Technical regulations introduced ahead of the 1986 season resulted in an enhanced variant of Minardi’s 1985 challenger, christened the M185/B. A considerable reduction in the size of the fuel tank (220 litres to 195 litres) formed the lion’s share of the technical changes, though the geometry at the front of the car was also subtly modified and, with Ferrari’s assistance, Weber/Marelli electronics were introduced.
Chassis 002 underwent the makeover for 1986 and formed part of the team’s upgraded two-car entry for its second season in Formula 1. Alessandro Nannini, who’d successfully raced for Minardi back in its Formula 2 days, got the call-up, along with Andrea de Cesaris.
This M185 was assigned solely to Nannini (the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix winner, let’s not forget), who raced it in 11 rounds of the 1986 season, including the season-opener in Rio de Janeiro and the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. That the original scrutineering sticker for the latter is still attached to the monocoque is very rare indeed.
Its competitive Formula 1 duties complete, chassis 002 was retained by Minardi at its Faenza factory until 1991, at which point, after a lengthy period of negotiation, it was acquired by the British historic racing driver Don Wood. As the M185 had run in period with a Cosworth V8, chassis 002 was therefore eligible for the Historic Sports Car Club’s Historic F1 Championship. Such a young car had the potential to be very competitive in a grid of predominantly older machinery.
Wood sold this M185 to fellow British historic racer Steve Hitchins, who took the liberty of running the car through the wind tunnel at the MIRA proving ground in order to understand how the car behaved at speed. Hitchens raced the Minardi once, at the A1-Ring in Austria in 2002, before it was acquired by Rodrigo Gallego.
Kinch invested great expense having this Minardi comprehensively restored – a project led by the former owner of Lister Cars Lawrence Pierce in Portugal. Almost £60,000 alone was spent with Geoff Richardson Engineering on the rebuild of the Cosworth DFV engine. Kinch’s son Nathan raced the restored car in the Masters Historic Racing meeting at Brno in 2014, though decided to change his racing direction away from historic Formula 1.
Girardo & Co. acquired chassis 002 in the spring of 2022, sending it straight to John Danby Racing to be crack-tested and fitted with newly fabricated fuel tanks. In August, this Minardi returned to the racetrack during the Silverstone Classic, where it contested the Frank Williams Memorial Trophy for Masters Racing Legends.
“This Minardi is eligible for the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique – arguably the most exclusive historic motorsport event in the world.”
Girardo & Co. acquired chassis 002 in the spring of 2022, returning the car to England from Portugal and sending it straight to John Danby Racing to be crack-tested and fitted with newly fabricated fuel tanks. In August, this Minardi returned to the racetrack during the Silverstone Classic, where it contested the Frank Williams Memorial Trophy for Masters Racing Legends.
Following its outing at Silverstone, the Minardi was sent to MJ Tech Ltd, which carried out a gearbox refresh. We also took the liberty of returning the car to the exact livery in which it ran for the 1985 Formula 1 season, using previously unseen high-resolution imagery unearthed from the Girardo & Co. Archive.
As a proposition for the keen racer looking to explore the burgeoning world of historic Formula 1, this Minardi M185/B is appealing for a number of compelling reasons. As a 1985-specification car fitted with the reliable Cosworth DFV, this is among the latest models eligible for the popular Masters Racing Legends series – both in Europe and the United States of America. Crucially, it is also eligible for the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique – arguably the most prestigious and exclusive historic motorsport events in the world.
Furthermore, that this single-seater boasts a strong and safe carbon-Kevlar monocoque, inspiring confidence. We’re also delighted to be offering a generous spares package with the Minardi, including wheels, tyres and assorted pieces of aluminium and carbon-fibre bodywork.
Boasting a striking design, adorned with a great livery and built by a brand with intrinsic ties to the very core of Formula 1 (you need only look at the popularity of the annual Historic Minardi Day in Italy to appreciate this), the Minardi M185 is presented in beautiful condition, accompanied by a generous history file including many period photos and correspondence with Giancarlo Minardi, and ready for its next competitive chapter to be written.
Price Upon Application
Accompanying Spares Package
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