History of Formula Ford 1600
Formula Ford began in England in 1967 as a cost-effective and reliable training ground for drivers. But it very quickly outgrew it's roots and became one of the most popular classes worldwide. The majority of professional race car drivers began their professional career in Formula Ford. The tradition continues today as "FF" produces future stars. The class was brought into America during 1969 and there are hundreds of Formula Fords in the country. In 1985 Swift released the DB-1, which dominated for years and is the basis of all modern Formula Fords. With the introduction of the fuel-injected Honda Fit motor in 2009 the class was renamed F1600 or Formula F. Today "FF" is raced at a vintage, regional, national, and pro level.
Some of the "FF" alumni include Ayrton Senna, Jacques Villeneuve, Mario Andretti, Michael Schumacher, Daniel Riccardo, etc...
Picture of Mike's Crossle from the late 70s
Picture of a Vintage FF festival race
Formula Ford, one of the greatest success stories in all of motorsport, has proven to be the best training ground for aspiring drivers for the last 50 years. With an open rule book, this is one of the few classes left in motorsport that still have several chassis manufacturers from around the world. F1600 provides a pure wheel to wheel racing experience because the car is not allowed to have any wings. It is important to master racing a car that relies solely on mechanical grip before moving on to a high-downforce car. Winning drivers depend on drafting, car control, and carrying momentum into the corner to be quick. There is a lot to learn in F1600 which translates directly into higher levels of professional racing.
Two engine options (HPD & Ford) producing
almost identical HP is used in the U.S. and Canada.
Top speeds are around 145 mph
The Gearbox is a Staff/Hewland 4 speed racing box + reverse.
The car is a Multi-tubular chassis construction with fiberglass bodywork, weighing 1110 lbs with the driver.
Full racing brakes, data system, uprights, suspension, and shocks.
Tires in the United States are Hoosier R60 compound racing radials.
The car campaigns at SCCA events, the Formula Car Series, and the F1600 Series.
Lee Racing team drivers practicing the draft
Lee Racing team drivers getting ready to buckle up
John Robinson charges into the turn with a large pack of cars behind
Kart to Cars/Driver Development
Without any doubt, Formula Ford is the most important step in a driver's career. No one at the lower levels will be watching you, so why not spend your early years learning in an affordable class where you can get loads of track time. The racing is fierce and it is hard to get away from the pack. You will be introduced to many new concepts that you cannot learn in a wing car.
Don't fall for the glamour gimmick, no one should be spending more than 150k in their first years of car racing. Many series are claiming that they will get you to the top fast... It's not true, I've been racing since 1983 and I have seen it all. Remember racing is a business and people want to make as much money as possible, many do it on selling you false hope. I have seen multiple classes come and go over the years. But there is a reason why Formula Ford is here 50 years later.
If you ask any professional driver about Formula Ford, they'll tell you that it was one of the most important and enjoyable years of their career.
A karter can jump into an F1600 car and do very well within the first year, why not do it with Lee Racing, a team that has shown strength and honesty for the past 35 years.
Jonathan learning the basics at the karting level
Jonathan transferring his skills to winning in the rain
Racing Ladder Patterns
Being a frontrunner in F1600 says a lot, there is a high percentage that you have the talent to make a career in racing. But where do you go next? Formula Atlantic is one of the best-kept secrets within motorsport. With 300hp, it is way lighter than a formula 3 car and creates so much more downforce. Like the Formula Ford, it will be one of the best and most fun cars you will ever drive in your career. From Atlantic, you can join the Indy Lights series, Imsa Lites series, or go to Europe. Atlantic is the best bang for your buck when it comes to a wing car. Back in the day, Atlantic was the last step before joining Indycar or F1. The Atlantic Championship has been watered down since the inception of the Mrti, but driving in an Atlantic Car is still a great training tool and a vital step before becoming a professional...
The F2000 Story
F2000 is a class that was started in England during the 1970s. It is similar to F1600 and could be called it's "bigger brother". The differences include more horsepower, bigger tires, and the addition of downforce devices. F2000 is not a spec car series and finding the best package is part of the game. The car has evolved into two main series; the F2000 Championship which runs under the same rules as SCCA, and the USF2000 series which is a spec series and runs a car that has diverged from the original rules. You will be able to learn the same skills in both championships, but they both have pros and cons. The USF2000 series is set in an IndyCar atmosphere but will cost you 3x times as much per year, while the F2000 Championship can be run at a similar price to F1600. Within the last 5 years, the "F2000 Championship" has boasted fields of 40 cars.
Kyle in his "Lee Racing" engineered Zetec Van Diemen
Kyle starts on the front row in the 2011 F2000 Championship Series
Kyle takes his 6th Victory and the 2011 "Rookie of the Year" award (6 wins out of 12 races!)
The Atlantic Attack
Formula Atlantic is a class of rich history and innovation. Once the last step before F1/Indycar, the cars are highly advanced. Drivers must fully mature before stepping into this 300hp beast. Racers that perform well in Atlantic, have enough talent to race in IndyCar. The class has had many professional series since its creation in 1965. Formula Atlantic has gone through a major drought but is being revitalized through races held in the FRP series and SCCA.
The Atlantic's fight for the racing line as they barrel into turn 1 at the 2014 SCCA Runoffs
The most popular chassis is the Swift 014 and 016. The 016 runs a MZR 2.3 litre motor that produces 300 hp and the class weight is 1400 lbs.
In 2015 Elite Engines worked with racing legend Ove Olsson to place a MZR 2.0 litre motor into the Swift 014; a car that was designed around the delicate Toyota 1600 motor. The goal was to generate an engine that was robust and produced 265 hp. This engine chassis configuration has a class weight of 1275 lbs and is a package that is both competitive and dependable. Due to it's success, the Mrti has adopted the engine into it's new Usf2000 and Indy Pro 2000 cars.