|Why Formula Vee?|
While there are countless answers to this question depending on who you talk to, my response is fashioned by looking back first and then forward on what makes FV a great racing choice today.
My FV participation has encompassed most of my adult life having gotten involved with it in 1979. Like many people I always had an interest in cars and from an early age was very interested in racing. So there I was, three years out of college with ambitions of making a career out of racing with almost no money to work with and a basic knowledge of car repair. On graduating college I had made a promise to myself that I would buy a race car but had no idea what that meant. The then glamour classes, F5000 and Formula Ford were out of reach for my thin budget and the likelihood of racing professionally seemed impossible.
I think everyone who starts racing has a defining moment that gets you hooked on the racing class you start with. For me it was watching a FV race at Lime Rock park in Connecticut where a friend and I watched a racing battle that was the "best racing" of the entire day. On every lap the leaders (about five of them), swapped positions under what seemed to be impossible braking points entering the legendary Big Bend turn. We later walked the paddock and got to see those cars up close and learned that they were built from manufactured kits and Volkswagen components consisting of parts that were relatively easy to understand.
The following year I located a used FV and started racing with a meager budget. The cars were a blast to drive and during my first drivers school, I out qualified many faster cars (well, they SHOULD have been faster), so much so that my Formula Ford instructor asked me not to buy a Formula Ford . Although my ego was boosted it didn't matter because I had found a class that seemed right for me. The costs weren't prohibitive - even for a newbie. Other drivers were willing to help you, and the racing was as close as you could get. Since those early days, the class has matured and there have been many technological and safety improvements. Yet the thing that got me hooked hasn't changed, a basic formula using cost effective parts that are available from multiple sources, and the ability to compete with some of the best drivers in the world. Perhaps that is an outlandish statement but not if you have ever driven one of these cars under racing conditions. Nowadays the cars are virtually identically matched and many races are decided by fractions of a second. To win you must play a chess match at speed and not only out drive your competition but also out think them. No one needs to boost your ego under these conditions as your driving talent is validated, which is likely the reason why you wanted to race anyway.
Certainly, choices abound in deciding which racing class one should compete in, and there is an abundance of options in today's crowded marketplace. Yet despite the hoopla by others, on race day when FV racing commences, I am always amazed by how many other class competitors take time out to watch the FV race. The reason is the racing is exciting! It is exciting to watch, exciting to be a part of, and despite what some would consider a low tech approach to racing, renders some of the closest race finishes that occur at most events. The cars are also beautiful examples of craftsmanship that adhere to fixed rules that allow older cars to compete with the newest designs. You are also not constrained by having to install the newest mandated widget even if you don't need it, or pay sole source or fixed supplier costs. By choosing Formula Vee you get the value of a proven specification (but not actually IDENTICAL) class with the freedom to obtain the best workmanship and pricing, including being able to do it yourself.
Finally the best news is that you don't need to invest tens of thousands of dollars to get started. They are plenty of cars, parts and suppliers to get you started and keep you on track, combined with a group of fellow racers who are interested in your success. That success formula is simple, it's called Formula Vee!
James F. Regan
Webmaster note: 'Raceable' FV's can be had on the open market for anywhere between $2500 and $10,000 USD (sometimes, even less!) - some will need some work.. some are READY TO RACE. Contact the webmaster (link below) for more information.
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