SO YOU THINK YOU WANT TO GO FORMULA CAR RACING!
SO YOU STILL WANT TO GO RACING...
GETTING STARTED with Formula Race Promotions
Why look at F1600?
Why race in F2000?
Why race Atlantic?
Under 18 years old and Watkins Glen International
Below is information both about what you need to know to go road racing and what you can expect at a FRP event if you’ve never attended one.
You have a number of choices, but I would probably first go to a professional driver school. This accomplishes two things; gets you in the seat of a racecar on a racetrack and gives you credit towards a racing license (see ‘getting started’). You need nothing in the way of equipment at this stage. While expensive at first look, they really are very economical in the scheme of things for what they give you. If you have your own car, or access to a car, you can go to a SCCA driver’s school. This is fairly time consuming and why the professional school is almost always the best option. Once you’re successfully through the school and have the license, you have some decisions to make.
I should note that if you are very experienced in karting, and can prove you have enough hours driving a race car somewhere, we the Series can, at our discretion, issue you a provisional USAC (United States Auto Club) license which will allow you to compete under our observation.
First, you have to buy your personal equipment; a driver’s suit, helmet with tear offs, gloves, shoes, HANS device, arm restraints, hood, long underwear. While you don’t have to buy the most expensive products out there, there are some minimums. Buy name brand products from a reputable supplier. The helmet has to be Snell rating SA 2010 or newer, but since the SA 2015’s are available, buy nothing less. Make sure it fits, and I recommend sticking with the most popular brands in case you have to go buy a visor or tear offs at a track somewhere. The HANS; while the Series only requires a ‘SFI rated head and neck device’, I know of almost nobody who has anything other than the HANS. Most modern formula cars favor the #30 model. The suit can be two or three layer but must meet SFI minimum ratings- no single layer suits meet the minimum. Again, stick with a recognized brand such as Sparco, Alpinestars, OMP, Simpson (understanding there are other good suits). I highly recommend long underwear, even with a suit that doesn’t require it- this is from a hot personal experience.
Next, you have to decide if you want to own your own car. Are you mechanically inclined? Do you have tools, a trailer capable of transporting the car and something to pull it? There is a host of equipment necessary to campaign a F1600 or F2000 at this, or really any level. If you don’t have any of the above, even if you are mechanically competent, I would strongly advise using a prep shop in some capacity the first year until you get a chance to see what its all about. The prep shop can help you buy the car, show you how to prep and maintain it, and give you invaluable information on the subtleties of these cars and the Series. The shop will have all the necessary tools and equipment, so you can see what you’ll have to buy in year two.
Third (or first!), and maybe something you think you know but may reconsider with experience; what are your goals in racing? Are you planning to drive racecars for a living? How are you going to get to the Indianapolis 500, F1, whatever? Do you have a source of money? Racing is expensive and we have some hard numbers of what you’ll most likely have to spend to become a competent professional driver. Focus on the goal, map your path, and spend the money wisely. You have to start somewhere and F1600 or F2000 have been an early rung for many of the top drivers in motor sports, so we know it is a proven path. If you are doing it for fun (or addiction), and that’s what the vast majority of us do, any of our three series will offer great satisfaction and reward.
In the early years you need seat time, seat time, seat time; and then you need competition, lots of it. A great statement I heard from an ex Formula One driver was that great talent will almost always rise to the top and be discovered, regardless of where it comes from. This means you do not have to spend huge amounts of money in the early years on marketing, public relations, and racing in the ‘right place’ to be seen. Spend it on seat time and the fiercest competition you can find. If you’re good, you’ll be noticed. Then you’ll have to follow it up with racing in the ‘right series’ and the surrounding high profile event circus; that’s where you will have to spend the real money, and that’s at least two years away, if not more.
If you want to attend a race at an FRP event for the first time, call us (855-722-3377 ext. 701) and tell us who you are. We’re not a big bureaucracy, and the process is quite simple. Below are some highlights and information to help you along the way.
2017 entry fee for F1600 and F2000 is $850 per weekend, Atlantic is $1,350. There is also a Series Registration fee, due after the 2nd weekend of competition at $950 for F1600 and F2000 and $1,400 for Atlantic. This covers the price of your Pro license and unlimited crew licenses for your team, the required series decals for your car, series required crew uniform and driver suit patches and other administrative costs.
We are sanctioned by USAC and require some form of racing license (we cover cost) as well as USAC membership for all competitors. We honor many other organization’s licenses for at least one weekend and can easily facilitate getting you a USAC license based on it. If you do not have one of the recognized licenses, are coming directly from karting, or have been away from racing for a while, we will need to see a resume and based on that may grant a provisional license so our staff can observe you on track. Those coming directly from karting, or with long layoffs we urge you to get in a car either on some test days or at racing school lapping days before coming to one of our events. Talk to us, or email us with specific questions.
Let us know you are coming ahead of time. Actual registration and entry takes place on a USAC web page and is self-explanatory and easy to use. If you have a question about the site, call us and we’ll talk you through the process.
Driver’s suits are required to have Hoosier and at least one of the FRP Series logos on them. Competing sanctioning body logos are permitted (but frowned upon) on suits. Crew shirts are necessary; they don’t have to be fancy. We’re very reasonable, but also need to have Hoosier, USAC and at least one of FRP Series logos on them. This is important as we have contractual arrangements with our sponsors and sanctioning body, who expect this. All required patches are available for the asking. For those who want to use embroidery, we have logo files available on our website.
Like many other series, we require a crew member to have a radio capable of listening to the Series frequency and be able to communicate information to the driver. There are any number of ways to do this, and in this day and age, very reasonably priced scanners. A Raceceiver used by the driver is acceptable. The Series frequency is analog 461.925 MZH, DPL 047.
When you arrive at the track, we will park you. It makes it easier on everybody. We will perform tech inspection at your trailer (what a concept). Our tech is primarily safety related as we expect you to bring a legal car to the weekend.
You do not have to order tires ahead of time: We are supplied by the Hoosier factory, not a dealer, and they will bring enough stock to supply the paddock based on the published entry list. You must use Series specific tires exclusively once qualifying starts, and you can use only Hoosier tires throughout the weekend.
Our tire declaration process works in two steps and properly declared tires are required for qualifying and races. First, is listing the barcode numbers on a tire declaration sheet. Sheets are available at the Series trailer throughout the weekend or on the website under the competitor tab and should be returned to the Series trailer by 6:00 p.m. Friday night. Once we have your tire declaration sheet, one of our Tech officials will come to your paddock and stamp your sidewalls
We generally have a driver’s meeting early in the weekend and attendance by all drivers is mandatory. It will be on the posted schedule and usually on a chalk board at the Series trailer. There are also written driver’s meeting notes available at the Series rig; read them as they have track specific information that may not be covered in the meeting.
Try to be early to the false grid. For practice, the lineup is first come, first served. For qualifying, you will be gridded according to season points so if it’s your first time, plan to be at the back of the grid. Please review our flagging rules in Article 1.6.16 in the FRP PRR 2017 before the event.
At the end of a qualifying, the top five cars are to report to impound. At the end of the races, the top 3 overall and the top 3 masters are to report to impound. Specifics will be announced over the series radio channel at the end of each session. It is always a good idea to have a crew member meet you there with some basic tools.
Fuel is designated for each class of car before the weekend and is detailed on our websites. It is most likely at the track, but may not be depending on circumstances (especially 93 pump gas.
Do not hesitate to talk to any of our staff at any time with questions. We are here to help.
F1600, often called FF or Formula Ford, has a rich history in both the USA and around the world. The first F1600’s were introduced to the USA in 1969 and have been continuously raced ever since. It is a non-winged purpose built single seat race car which is well known to be a great training ground for career minded drivers, and a highly competitive class for all participants. It has a reputation for being one of the most economical classes, and with the addition of the FIT motor from Honda to the class, the cost saving just got better. Many of the top drivers in the world started in FF, including Aryton Senna in Europe and Michael Andretti in the USA. Current alumni of F1600 include Aaron Telitz (Indy Lights), Jake Eidson (Pro Mazda), Garrett Grist (Indy Lights), Colin Thompson (PWC).
F2000 is a formula that was developed in England in the mid 1970’s and has gone through a couple of evolutions to become one of the best rides for the money in road racing. It is a step up from F1600, with the addition of more horsepower, larger tires and aero considerations in the form of wings and diffusers. The suspension geometry of a modern F2000 is as sophisticated as anything out there, and offers great training for drivers, engineers and mechanics. It is a formula, not a spec car, so there are numerous chassis designs, multiple motors allowed, and room to make a better mouse trap.
At the same time, there are enough restrictions to keep costs in check. With all of that, the F2000 Series routinely has top ten qualifying time spreads measured in tenths of a second. The pedigree of top drivers who learned their trade in F2000 include Dan Weldon, Patrick Carpentier, Paul Tracy, Aryton Senna, Sam Hornish, Jr. and more recently, Connor Daly (Indy car), Kyle Marcelli (PWC), Santino Ferrucci (Haas F1 development), Jordan Taylor (IMSA, WEC).
Formula Atlantic cars are not for the faint of heart or beginners. They are sophisticated, 300 hp race cars capable of speeds in excess of 175 mph. If you can drive an Atlantic car well, you can drive an Indycar. They are also a natural progression from F2000 and possibly F1600. These cars have highly developed aerodynamic packages and are very sensitive to setup changes and driving techniques, making them an ideal teaching platform for both driver and crew seeking to go to the highest levels of motor racing.
First, you have to have a valid, acceptable competition license. See the information about how to get your license. Watkins Glen (WGI) is unique among all the tracks we go to in that they require you as a driver to sign the liability waiver as an adult. In most states and New York where WGI is located, that is age 18. To do so under that age, you must become either partially or fully ‘emancipated’ or its equivalent, and be able to prove it to WGI.
We have a system set up to use the laws of Indiana where a partial emancipation is available for the specific purpose of motor racing. It requires some advance planning, paperwork, a video conference with an Indiana judge and about $3,000 or a little less. We have done this for many drivers; it’s routine and proven. Be aware that not doing it through this Indiana process has resulted in rejections by WGI.
John Larue, esq:
4910 North Wheeling Ave
Muncie, Indiana 47304