Monday, April 29, 2024

The Unknown Formula race Promotions ladder Staircase

Since who’s Heard of FRP lately?


Today begins another Ha-Ha Short! Intended three part No Fenders tome covering the current Open Wheel Racing “Staircases” to Indy Cars, North America’s premiere Open Wheel Racing category. But as typical, I keep finding more “Driftwood” on the shores of Nofenderville…


Thus, I suppose if I keep Digging for Clams, I’ll learn about more Open wheel Racing single seater Championships I’ve been totally unawares’ of, Righto?


Since I was just trying to spell out today’s best known ladder systems for aspiring racers to progress upon once what was known as the Road to Indy. Which was the best, most concise ladder system to date…


Thanks to researching two aspiring “Junior” talents, I ran into what is billed as the East coast’s “premiere” Formula Cars Feeder Series – sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing.


Having never heard of Formula Race Promotions (FRP) before, visiting their website which only gives the briefest of descriptions. Somehow I “spotted” the logo for Parella Motorsports Holdings, (PMH) for which I couldn’t ascertain if FRP is owned by them or not?


Since PMH, which is owned by Tony Parella seems to be a fairly large motorsports entity, primarily owners of SVRA )Sports Car Vintage Racing) and the modern day Trans Am series. Whilst also being involved with another “rival” Junior Open Wheel Racing ladder system. Making it All as clear as Mud on a Rainy Day!


FRP’s single seater ladder system comprises of F1600, F2000 and Atlantic Championships, and presumably is “Billed” as a lower cost alternative for aspiring racers. Since what’s that ‘Ol Adage about Cubic Horsepower costs Cubic Dollars! And how many people who start with a large budget end up with a small budget after going racing, or something to that effect…


These three categories serve as support series to SVRA and Trans Am events around the nation, with this year’s calendar consisting of seven events.


Road Atlanta (March 21-24) served as the season opener. Followed by Mid-Ohio, (April 26-28) Lime Rock*, (May 24-27) Pittsburg International Race Complex, (June 7-9) Road America, (June 28-30) New Jersey Motorsports Park* (July 25-28) and Summit Point Motorsports Park. (August 16-18)


The Atlantic Championship will not contest the Lime Rock weekend. While the New Jersey event will also include the U.S. formula 4 and FR Americas series.


F1600 Championship

The F1600 Championship Pro category is an almost exclusive Honda engine category, utilizing 1.6-litre normally aspirated four cylinder engines, hence the series name. Although also having spotted a lone ford lump’ noted. With the series being dominated by the Van Diemen chassis, with Piper, Mygale and Swift sprinkled about this “Formula ford” single seater series.


I first learned about this series when perusing the career summary of Jace Denmark, who ran three races in 2021. While 2020 F1600 Championship winner Simon sikes is now His Pabst Racing teammate in the USF Pro 2000 Championship.


Other series champions include Nicholas D’Orlando, (2021) younger brother of Michael D’Orlando, the 2022 U.S. F2000 National Championship champion. Along with Thomas Schrage, (2022) and the reigning champion Porter Aiken. All having gravitated to the U.S. f2000 National championship and USF Pro 2000 Championship series.


F2000 Championship

This is the second rung of the series, in what are known as “Wings & Slicks” single seaters with a larger 2.0-litre four cylinder naturally aspirated motor. As the class dovetails with the re-introduction of the U.S. F2000 National Championship in 2010, when the Van Diemen DP08 was selected as the sole spec chassis for this category.


Becoming the Elan DP08, the chassis was used for U.S. F2000 National Championship competition until Tatuus won the contract and began supplying the series first carbon fibre USF-17 chassis beginning in 2017.


With No Disrespect to today’s competitors, from what I can tell, this is now an “Ameteur” Class utilizing “vintage” single seaters primarily with the Mazda MZR and older spec Zetec Ford powerplants. Since Van Diemen ceased as a company in the early 2000’s when Former American Le Mans Series founder Don Panoz bought the company. With the Van Diemen name being replaced by Elan after full integration.


As a mix of “vintage” chassis compete in this class, including Van Diemen, Mygale and Piper for example.


A few of the class’s former Alumni include “The Viking”, aka Andres Krohn who won the 2008 championship. While Chris Miller who won the following year’s title also progressed to what then was known as Star Mazda a la Krohn.


Krohn and 2010 F2000 Champion victor Carbone would compete against each other in the 2011 Indy Lights Championship with mixed results.


Whilst ’08 F2000 Alumni Conor Daly would graduate into Indy Cars. Beginning  in 2013, as a “One-off” Indy 500 entry for A.J. Foyt enterprises. Yet Daly’s IndyCar career arguably could be summed up as an “Journeyman’s” career until being “let go” by Ed Carpenter Racing after the 2023 Indianapolis 500…


Atlantic Championship

When I hear the word Atlantic, I immediately think of the former Toyota Atlantic Championship, which later became the Champ Car Atlantic Championship The series continued for two more years, albeit no longer part of the Champ Car World Series, (CCWS) which thankfully finally merged with it’s rival Indy Racing League for 2008.


Formula Race Promotions effectively took over the Atlantic championship circa 2012, and has run it ever since. Which now utilizes the Swift 016 chassis for it’s 2016 category. Whilst presumably older chassis for it’s Open category…