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15. Penske PC4

S3374 Penske PC4 No.14 US GP 1977 – Dany Ongais

Penske is the address for motorsport in the United States. No other team ever had more success than the team of Roger Penske, the grey eminence of the US-racing sports. In 1974 Penske could not resist the temptation of the formula 1. He decided to participate with an own team. As it was not expected different, Penske was also successful in Europe. In 1976 John Watson won the Austrian GP with the model type PC4. This victory was only the second victory of an US team (after Dan Gurney with Eagle 1967) in the formula 1. By the end of the year Penske surprisingly announced the exit of the GP sports. The sponsor “First National City” had quit the cooperation and Penske wanted to focus on the US-racing again. Penske sold his complete material to ATS-rim manufacturer Günther Schmid who set up the Penske PC4 in his national colors yellow, black and red in 1977 (see also blog entry 13). But Schmid was not the only one who gave a second chance to the PC4 which was very competitive in the year before. Also Ted Field, an US film producer, racing driver and successful businessman was interested in the Penske chassis. He used it for the “home GP” at Watkins Glen and Mosport with the Hawaiian Danny Ongais. The former Dragster-pilot didn’t know the car and was only in his third season of car racing. That’s why it was not really surprising that Ongais landed in the gravel bed after six rounds in his first race. At the second GP in Canada the learning curve of the later Interscope-Porsche-driver was increasing a lot. Ongais could achieve a seventh place and just slightly failed the last championship point with some laps behind. It was Ongais’s last race with the PC4. In 1978 Field offered some other racing opportunities to him – with Ensign respectively Shadow.

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