Formula Vee. If you want to go single seater, Formula 1-style, racing in Ireland then this is the class to start in. It has been described as the biggest, most affordable, most competitive, single seater racing formula in Ireland. Formula VEE came to Ireland in the mid 1970’s and has remained within reach of the average person. Vee’s can now boast the highest popularity with over 40 members in the Association, and about 20-30 of those regularly competing.
The cars utilise as many standard VW parts as possible. The engine and gearbox are from a 1600cc air-cooled VW Beetle and parts are still readily available at low cost. The front and rear axles are standard VW beetle parts, as are the drum brakes (front disc brakes are also allowed) and use steel rims and track tyres. Racing shock absorbers and springs are allowed as are non-standard rack-and-pinion steering. Formula VEE is a limited budget class and there are strict rules regarding the amount of modifications allowed to the vehicle. Basically the engine, carbs, brakes and axles must remain standard in order to avoid the high cost of maintaining race performance engines as usually associated with other classes. Some mild tuning/blueprinting is permitted in order to increase performance, in accordance with the class regulations (specified in the Motorsport Ireland Yearbook).
The performance of the cars is remarkable given their ‘standard’ configuration. Most cars are typically capable of speeds up to 110 – 120 mph and they are only a few seconds off the lap times achievable with the more expensive Formulae. A Vee is capable of lapping Mondello Park quicker than a Porsche 911 (but you don’t get the brilliant stereo and leather seats!). The cars weigh 385 Kg with a minimum combined driver and car weight of 485 Kg
The cars range in price from €3,000 to €8,000-10,000. A car at the lower end of the scale can be a great way to get on track and start racing, but would need some work to make it competitive at the front of the grid. Cars at the more expensive end of the scale would have won multiple national championships, and would be regularly winning races.
A full championship season can cost between €4,000-€5,000.
A National B license is required. This is provided by Motorsport Ireland and you will need to complete an ‘Introduction to Motorsport’ course which will be held at Mondello Park.
Formula Vee originated in America in the 1950s and remains active all around the world. Early racers included future world champions and Niki Lauda and Emerson Fittipaldi, while more recently former Toro Rosso racer Brendon Hartley started his racing career in Formula Vee in New Zealand. Emerson Fittipaldi donated a trophy to Formula Vee Ireland many years ago to commemorate his time in Vee’s and a special trophy race is run for this prestigious trophy every year.
You can find more information here – www.formulavee.ie