The German sportscar racer Willi Kauhsen tried to break into Formula 1 racing in 1979. He had tried his hand in Formula 2 in 1977 and 1978 with rebadged Elf 2J chassis which had dominated the European F2 Championship in 1976. The cars were driven by Michel Leclere and Klaus Ludwig although the German quit the team and was replaced by a variety of drivers including Alain Prost and Vittorio Brambilla.
For the 1979 season Kauhsen planned to run a Lotus-lookalike chassis for Italian rising star Gianfranco Brancatelli. This was designed by Klaus Kapitza and several versions of the same car were tried although Brancatelli could do nothing to make the cars competitive. He failed to qualify for the Spanish and Belgian Grands Prix and Kauhsen then took the sensible step of selling the project to Arturo Merzario. The Kauhsen WK then became the basis of the Merzario A4 but despite engineering input by Giampaolo Dallara the car never qualified for a Grand Prix.